My beautiful girl, you are my missing piece. You came into my life and changed everything, placing your warm little hand in mine, and looking up at me with your sky-blue eyes, so full of hope. Little did we know what lay ahead, but for a while at least, we had each other…
Author interview with Alison:
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.
I’m a former marketing executive, and before that, in another life, a professional dancer. I started writing at 7 years old with a journal, and putting down words has been my go-to for decompressing for as long as I can remember. I first joined a writing group in 2013, which terrified me as it was the first time I had to share my work, but I learned so much. It was the best decision I ever took as regards my writing, and within a year, I had completed the initial draft of my first novel. I self-published it in 2014, and then my second later that year. In 2016, my third book was picked up by Lake Union Publishing, and since then, I have self-published other titles. I have been with Bookouture since 2019, am working on my fourth book with them, and loving that experience. It’s been a wonderful, scary, challenging, and rewarding journey, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
Aside from being an avid walker, I’m a major foodie and love to cook. My husband and I spend most Sundays in the kitchen, trying new recipes and ingredients. It’s become a weekly food date that we both look forward to as, for that time, we focus on the food and let go of all the stressors of the week.
How do you start your day (a routine of sorts?)
I get up horribly early, as I’m not a good sleeper. First, I take care of Maddie, our sweet 16-year-old Pointer, who is a morning person ;) Then I make the all-important first cup of tea of the day. After breakfast, I walk Maddie and then go for another, longer walk myself. I average around 6 miles per day. It clears my head and sets me up for getting to work later in the morning.
Do you have a manuscript(s) in your drawer? If so, will it ever see the light of day?
I do. I wrote it around five years ago, but for some reason, I never tried to pitch it to my agent or publisher. I often think about that book and wonder if I should pull it out and re-read it, but my time is so limited with my current writing schedule I keep closing the drawer again. Maybe one day…
Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?
My husband and two sisters read my books as I write them. I send them each chapter, and they send me their feedback. That helps me stay focused on the arc of the story and the pace, and not get lost in the weeds as I sometimes do with descriptions and complex inner dialogue. I value their input as they each have very different tastes in reading and perspectives that bring something valuable to the development of the book.
Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?
There were a couple of authors who initially inspired me to write. (Now there are so many more). First was Mary Wesley - a British author who wrote her first book at 73. She was clever, feisty, and opinionated, as were her characters, and I admired that she wasn’t afraid to push boundaries, write the stories she wanted to write, and not be bound by societal constraints. Next, Elizabeth Berg was, and is, an ongoing inspiration to me. She has a magical way of taking a regular situation, day or life event and writing about it in a way that makes it utterly enthralling. I adore her books and her relatable characters.
What are you working on now?
I’m getting ready for the launch of The Child Between Us on September 28th. My publisher does a great job on marketing and promotion, but as most authors know, it still requires a good deal of work from me.
I’m also writing book number 11. I have a deadline of late November, so am chipping away at that one.
Do you have a favorite character?
I can’t say I have an overall favorite character across all my books, but my current favorite is Cassie in The Child Between Us. She is so strong in the face of a series of unimaginable challenges that pile one on top of the other. Throughout it all, she keeps her sense of humor, rolls her sleeves up, and tackles it all with grace and compassion. I admire her and hope to be her when I grow up ;)
What would your dream job be if you didn’t write books? (assuming this is your dream job!)
This is definitely my dream job. I pinch myself regularly to remind myself that I’m really doing this every single day.
What was some unique research you had to do for a book?
All my books are set in the stunning Highland and Islands of my homeland, Scotland. My parents still live there, and I love my trips home to see them, as I often tack on a few days to visit a particular location I’m planning to write about. One of my favorite trips was to the Isle of Skye when I was writing Finding Heather. I was lucky enough to have an old school friend living on the island, so she and her husband took my husband and me on a tour of ‘their’ Skye. It was a priceless experience to see it through their eyes. Almost getting blown off the side of a mountain, by gale-force winds, just added to the excitement.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Just start! I always say this, but I truly believe it’s good advice. Don’t be put off by worrying about what you think you ‘should’ be writing. Give yourself the license to write your own way, as long as you start to get something down. There will be lots of time to edit, develop, change and rewrite, but you won’t get there if you don’t start.
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