Allison Pittman’s interview

» Posted on Oct 28, 2008 in Blog | Comments Off on Allison Pittman’s interview

If you want to be entered in the drawings for a book by Allison Pittman and Elizabeth Ludwig, please leave a comment with your email address or email me at The drawing ends Sunday evening.

1. What made you start writing?

This sounds so cliché, but I don’t ever remember NOT writing. I always wrote/told stories, and I have an old journal from my college days where I vowed to be a published author by the time I was 30. Well, THAT didn’t happen, but revisiting that dream as my 30’s were coming to an end really ignited me. I had a very clear feeling of losing my desire and talent if I didn’t start doing something with it.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I started seriously pursuing this about 10 years ago. It took a few years for me to know exactly what I wanted to write. I came into it wanting to be a columnist of some sort. I’d never read a Christian novel. Outside of Grace Livingston Hill, I had no idea such things existed. When I read Eve’s Daughters by Lynn Austin, I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I sold my first novel three years later, in spring, 2005.

3. How do you handle rejections?

Hopefully with grace and good humor. Followed by chocolate.

4. Why do you write?

It’s really almost a compulsive thing at this point. I have so many ideas, and in my mind, they are all wonderful, viable things. If I didn’t write, I’d feel like I was overwhelmed with great, unfinished tasks.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

Wow…that’s hard to imagine. Sleeping? Shaving my legs more regularly?

6. What are you working on right now?

I just finished a novel (my 4th!) that’s due out April, 2009. It’s a total break from the Crossroads of Grace Series—something I started writing during the summer while I was waiting to hear back from my editor about Ten Thousand Charms. It’s called Rounding Third, and it tells the story of a turn-of-the-century alcoholic baseball player who gets involved in the lives of the people in the small town where he’s been sent to dry out. I love this story and the characters in it, and I can’t wait to see if my readers will embrace it as much as they did the Crossroads books.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

Oh, all the time—only in my books I get to learn lessons, get my life together, and always know the right thing to say! But really, I stir a lot of my weaknesses and insecurities into my characters. Then I hide them behind petticoats… But that’s what made writing my first non-fiction book such a challenge, because there was no place to hide. It was just…me.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

Actually, I have two. With Endless Sight is Book #3 in the Crossroads of Grace series, and it takes the character Belinda—the young, vulnerable girl known as “Biddy” in the other books—and tells the story of her journey from being the beloved daughter of a well-to-do Illinois businessman, to an abandoned, endangered orphan miraculously rescued by a pack of prostitutes. My nonfiction book is called Saturdays with Stella, and it tells of the spiritual lessons I learned when I took my dog, Stella, through a six-week obedience class. She learned to obey her master; I learned to obey my Master.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

1. Read—everything. Read books in the genre you want to write, but be sure you’re reading GOOD ones. Christian or secular—read to study the craft.

2. Don’t let your zeal to deliver a Christian message be the driving force behind your story. Aim for a good piece of fiction, and make Christianity an integral part of the character’s make-up. That way the faith element will be organic and natural.

3. Write, write, write. Then read books about writing. Then write some more.

10. How important is faith in your books?

Of course it’s hugely important. A character’s crisis of faith is so intriguing. And when you think about it—our relationship with Jesus Christ impacts every single aspect of our lives, so it makes any conflict that much deeper, as you bring about the temporal resolution along with the spiritual resolution.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

Hmmm…I don’t know that it’s so much of a theme, but I like to write small stories. I don’t see myself ever going after the grand epic adventure. And I love that little moment of self-confrontation.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

Wow. That is hard! I’m going to have to cheat…

My favorite book in the Crossroads series is Speak Through the Wind. Which kind of contradicts my previous question, because it’s the “biggest” story of the three. And I’m super excited about the upcoming Rounding Third, because, out of everything I’ve written, it’s most like something I would have read before my writing days.

13. What is your writing schedule like?

I’ve really been blessed to be able to just work three days a week, so I’m home writing every Tuesday and Thursda., I get the kids off to school, have my quiet time, watch the episodes of Ryan’s Hope I DVR’d overnight, then get to work. That gives me from about 10-2. When the kids get home, I’m done…until the late hours of the night…when I fire up the laptop again. Then, of course, when the deadline looms, I go into complete troll mode, and become this marathon writing machine living on Diet Coke and microwave popcorn!