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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Q&A with novelist Allison Winn Scotch - Book Giveaway!

The One That I Want: A Novel
One of the authors I adore these days is Allison Winn Scotch. Her third novel, The One that I Want, is coming out on June 1st (how timely!) and she kindly agreed to not only let me do a Q&A with her, but to give one Frisco Kids reader a signed copy! Read on at the bottom for how to win a copy of

Time of My Life: A NovelFor some background, Allison is the New York Times best-selling author of The Department of Lost and Found and Time of My Life, both of which I read and enjoyed. And Time of My Life is currently optioned for a movie by the Weinstein Company.

The One that I Want is about a 32 year old married woman, Tilly Farmer, who is a guidance counselor working on that baby thing with her hubby. She ends up at a fortune teller and gets more than she bargained for. Her life becomes a series of scarily accurate insights that cause her life to take an unexpected turn. Intrigued? So am I!

Q:  This book and your last one deal with themes of "what if" - looking at life through different lenses. Do you spend much time personally tnking about "what if" - in terms of your career, life or family?

A: Yes and no. I wouldn’t say that I spend a lot of time waxing nostalgic but I definitely use that question – what if – to push my life to where I’d like it to be or go. What if I’m not satisfied with where I am? What if I’m not feeling fulfilled? Then what? So it’s not like I’m curled on my couch flipping through old photo albums – though I sometimes do that too! - but sure, I do ponder the road less travelled and see how I can apply that to my current situation.

Q: Your book's main character Tilly goes to a fortune teller who gives "the gift of clarity." She can now see what loved ones are doing (it's destructive!) and her visions come true. Have you ever been to a fortune teller? Any reason why you would or wouldn't go?

A: I haven’t! And I think I’d be either too nervous or too cynical to go. I mean, geez, what if it’s accurate? That’s not info I’d actually want to know! But then the other side of me would think I was being taken advantage of – paying money for a fake – so I’d probably be too jaded to enjoy the experience anyway!

Q:  Who are your favorite authors and what are your favorite books? Why?

A: I always feel badly naming names because I have too many author friends whose work I really, truly admire. Authors who have helped shape my work, like Amanda Eyre Ward and Laura Dave. Recent favorite reads, however, include The Island by Elin Hilderbrand (I got an early copy), Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart, and This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper, who again, has been a huge influence on my work.

Q: You grew up in Washington State, went to school in Philadelphia and now live in New York City. How do you choose the location for your book?

A: My first two books were set in New York, simply because it felt comfortable AND worked for my characters. I felt like I was still getting my feet work – in terms of crafting a novel – and truthfully, I wasn’t comfortable tackling an environment that I couldn’t immerse myself in completely. But for The One That I Want, I wanted to intentionally move it out of NYC, both to challenge myself and to bring readers into a different world. My character is so defined by her community – her small town in Washington – that I simply couldn’t have set it in a city, much less New York. And I didn’t want to be that writer who always fell back on what came easily to her. Having grown up in Seattle, I felt like I could accurately portray the vibe of smaller town Washington while still bringing something new to the table and still challenging myself.

Q: How do you know when you've written something really good?

A: Oh gosh, that’s the million dollar question. Honestly, the only way that I know is in hindsight, and what I mean by that is that with each passing book, I glean more insight into what’s going to work and what’s not, AND when it’s working and when it’s not. It’s not an easy thing to articulate – with my first manuscript (which never sold), I really, really thought it was genius. It was only in retrospect, when I actually wrote a better book, that I realized just how awful it was. I think it’s like many things: there’s a learning curve, and you start to recognize the ingredients you need to put into create a solid recipe.

Q: You have young kids. Do you wonder what life would be like without them? Or with different kids?

A: I can’t imagine life without them, though sometimes I wouldn’t mind a mini-vacation where I could sleep all day!! The only time I really contemplate anything like this is when I try to remember how I occupied my time before kids. It sincerely baffles me: what did I do before I had kids??? I must have had a lot of free time without even realizing what a blessing it was.

Q: Do your friends ever ask you if you modeled a character after them? Or think that you took their dialogue for your books?

A: No one has ever explicitly said anything, which is good because, truthfully, I’ve never modeled a character after someone or poached dialogue! I think that’s sort of a risky endeavor, beyond upsetting that person, but because you fence yourself into a caricature rather than a newly formed person. When I first started writing fiction, I DID model my initial manuscript (the one that didn’t sell) after some real life experiences, and eventually, once I started to actually have to, you know, make stuff up!, I couldn’t figure out where to take the characters because they were so embedded in my brain as real life people. So I really steer away from that now. And if someone thinks I’ve modeled a character after them, then more power to them! But I promise that I haven’t. :)

Book Giveaway Details:
Okay, for the book giveaway. In the comment section, please tell us what "gift" you'd want a fortune teller to give you - and why.
--One entry per person on the comment section.
--You get an additional entry for posting it on Facebook and one for posting on Twitter. Just let me know so I can keep track.
--You'll need to include your email address on the comment so I can contact you if you win (if you don't want your email address to be public, send it to me along with the comment at blog @ friscokids (dot) net with your entry info - but you still need to post a comment publicly for the entry to count).
We'll close the contest on June 8th at midnight PST and will pick the winner using We'll send an email to the winner. If you don't respond to the email within 48 hours giving me your address (so we can send you the book), I'll go to the next in line.
And don't forget, Frisco Kids is on Facebook! (Allison is on Facebook too)
Small print: Frisco Kids is an Amazon affiliate. If you use any of the links above to make a purchase, you'll be supporting this website which brings you many wonderful things at no cost to you.


  1. The gift of discernment - to be able to tell what kind of person I am dealing with.

    Please enter me in this giveaway - Thanks!


  2. I'd love the gift of calm. I also posted on twitter.

    jpetroroy at gmail dot com

  3. The ability to read people's minds. I'd love to know what they REALLY think.

  4. Easy...the ability to live in the NOW--therefore ending the need to visit a fortune teller. :)

  5. The gift of finding a career that I am passionate about, hopefully I can one day give myself that gift. I will keep trying...

  6. I would ask a fortune teller for the gift of an extra hour or two per day, that no one else besides me had! (More "now", to go off of Suzy Lake's response! :-) )

  7. Good question! I think I need the gift of staying focused. I'm so distracted and scattered right now that it seems the tiniest thing can pull my attention away from my priorities. Thanks for the giveaway.

  8. I also posted on Twitter.