Alison: Both influence my writing but not directly in most cases… at least not my fiction writing. Listening to people has the biggest influence on me. Growing up with stories about my mothers’ family experiences in WWII had a big impact on me. My mother’s stories from work inspired me in writing DEADLY LEGACY. The whole near future setting on the story came out of an interview with a chief of police. Conversations with cops and detectives and a police academy drop-out, helped shape the world and the story.This pretty much holds true for all my stories. Of course, with the historical stuff, my “listening” has to be reading narratives backed up with research.
Pam: Writers generally are considered, if not eccentric then definitely different.Do you consider yourself eccentric? And is this a good thing?
Alison: Eccentric? Me?
I can be a bit of a space cadet sometimes. My mother blamed my loss of hearing. I’ve been completely deaf in my right ear since age nine. I think it’s more the case that the stories in my head drown out the rest of the world sometimes. Long before my hearing problems, I could get totally focussed on a thought and be oblivious to important details, like where I was walking or where my friend’s finger was in relationship to the stapler I was using. (Oops!)
Pam: What does Alison do for Alison on a regular basis? Spa/mani/pedi, a weekend with the girls, chocolate and a good book or all of the above? ... Tell us a secret your willing to share- we won’t tell anyone.
Alison: Ha! I don’t believe you for an instant.
Alison: How important is having a sense of humour to live? It’s essential. First of all, I ascribe to the Shakespearean model that all tragedy must have comic relief and vice versa. The series M*A*S*H exemplified this. Experience with the terminal illness of my sister and my father’s strokes proved out the theory in life. We could not have survived as a family; I couldn’t have held it together as a person, without a sense of humour.
Now, add it the petty nuisances of dealing with publisher rejections, frustrating edits when you do get a publisher, and snarky reviews once your book is out there, and you can see that the business end of writing also requires a sense of humour.
Pam: Character or plot driven? What is important to you when starting a new book?
Alison: I almost always start with a character or set of characters imind, then I think about what trouble I can get them into. After that, the broad strokes of my plot create the route from point A to point B, but the characters may take the story off–road.
Thanks Alison for being our first guest blogger on Jamie Tremain-Remember the Name. We're both excited to work with you as our mentor and we'll put all your good advice to use in our publishing quest.
Stay tuned for our next mystery guest.