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Allison Winn Scotch: Why I Write

April 11, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts

[In her profile on Twitter, Allison Winn Scotch (The One That I Want, Time of My Life, and The Department of Lost and Found) describes herself as: Novelist, NY Times bestseller, celeb profiler, goldfish killer, dog walker, tantrum negotiator, ass-kicker, pop culture junkie, superwoman. Soon the author will be adding screenwriter as yet another role but first she’ll take time out to celebrate the release of her fourth novel, The Song Remains the Same, tomorrow.

Many fans first met Allison on the popular, long-running blog, Ask Allison, where she generously answers writing and publishing related questions. Yet, when asked why she personally writes, the author confessed never having put those thoughts into words until now.]

Why I Write

Why do I write? I’m not sure that I’ve ever asked myself this question before, or if I have, I’ve never fully answered it because it is too big, too encompassing to really get my brain around. I write for so many reasons, it’s hard to pinpoint them, to hold them down and say, “aha, this is what compels me.”

But after much consideration, here are a few reasons why I put words onto a blank page and hope that, many months and many pages later, they turn into something magical:

1. I write because writing for me, is a way to connect with others. One of the best parts of being a writer is hearing from readers, when they take a moment out of their busy lives to shoot you an email and say, “The story you told is also my story,” or “The characters you drew are similar to the characters in my own life,” or anything that lets me know that we’re all part of this big collective experience together. As a reader, I read books that touch upon themes or issues that I’m dealing with in my own life, and as a writer, I try to honor that honesty: that we’re all mucking our way through together, and that a lot of times, just knowing this – that we’re not alone – can help us make our way.

2. I write because, well, I really love words. Looking back on it, I was always the kid who would use ten words to write a five word sentence. I loved adjectives, descriptions, synonyms, idioms. I was the girlfriend who gave those movie-worthy speeches while in the midst of a break-up, not because they made any difference, but because I really loved the way that I could string words together. 🙂 Seriously. I think the same is true of my writing: I can write a lot of awful sentences, but when you craft that really, really, really good one, well, it’s nirvana.

3. I write because it is catharsis. I often say that if I weren’t a writer, I’d be an actress. There is something really therapeutic about spending time in someone else’s head, at least for me, whether that is writing a character or saying a character’s dialogue, as an actress would. When I’m writing, I honestly forget about wherever I am in my real life – I lose minutes, hours to the page, and in those minutes and hours, I really step outside my own life. Now, don’t get me wrong, my own life is pretty great. But in that time I spend on my manuscript, I’m able to pour out whatever quirks or issues I might be wrestling with onto my own characters, and a lot of times, I emerge wiser, calmer, happier. It’s my personal therapy session, just without the couch and the therapist’s bill.

4. I write because I love it. How lucky am I that I get to spend my days creating something from nothing, creating fictional lives and people and places and calamities and resolutions? I am so, so lucky, and not a day goes by that I don’t realize this. Sure, some of the bad days are dreary, but mostly, this career is heaven, and I love nearly everything about it. That may really be why I write – simply, because I love it. That I then have people to read my work is just the cherry on top.

* * * * *

In refreshing details from the post, Picture the Book: The Song Remains the Same, this a novel that asks:

Who are we without our memories? And how much of our future is defined by our past?

One of only two survivors of a plane crash, Nell Slattery wakes in the hospital with no memory of the crash – or who she is, or was. Now she must piece together both body and mind — with the help of family and friends who have their own agendas. She filters through photos, art, music and stories, hoping something will jog her memory, and soon – in tiny bits and pieces –Nell starts remembering…
It isn’t long before she learns to question the stories presented by her mother, her sister and business partner, and her husband. In the end she will learn that forgiving betrayals small and large will be the only true path to healing herself — and to finding happiness.

And, of course, these glorious critical reviews need to be repeated too:

“Bestseller Winn Scotch sparkles in her captivating fourth novel. Readers will love Nell and won’t be able to put the book down until they know how much of her past she wants to bring into her future.” – Publishers Weekly

“Scotch has drawn a fully three-dimensional heroine in Nell, and the story’s pacing perfectly mirrors the protagonist’s increasing rate of self-discovery. Scotch peppers her chapters with a number of pop-culture and musical references, giving the story a modern and lively feel. With shades of Sophie Kinsella’s Remember Me? (2008) and Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot (2011), this novel is a breezy yet introspective examination of one woman’s newfound history.” –Booklist

“Readers who appreciate women’s fiction that investigates serious themes will enjoy Scotch’s fine novel. Reading groups will find much to discuss as well.” – Library Journal

As for my truth: In THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME, Allison has written the ultimate “what if?” by wiping her heroine’s mind clean. Nell can start over and become a “fabulous me.” Yet memories cannot be erased from one’s heart, especially when music triggers emotional recall and pulls Nell back to the past in order to understand her present. Writing stronger than ever — with brilliant insight –, the author tells a story of survival filled with courage and hope in discovering one’s truth.

However what Allison also does is keep the reader wondering who this woman truly is. All that is known of Nell is what Nell knows of herself, initially based primarily on “facts” from family and friends. Yet do others always share the same perspective or speak the entire truth? That, in itself, creates a fascinating, cautionary tale of choosing who to trust.

Highly recommended, The Song Remains the Same is a novel of emotional substance that will likely cause you to reflect as well as be entertained. And that’s the best in a book….enjoy!

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one copy of The Song Remains the Same by Allison Winn Scotch — in a random drawing — to anyone who leaves a comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. EDT tonight! The winner will be notified by email tomorrow.

The Beginning of Spring’s Coming Attractions

April 05, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News

Next week spring releases begin to bloom with two favorite authors.

Tuesday, April 10th: Sarah Pekkanen (Skipping a Beat and The Opposite of Me) and her third novel, These Girls appear here to be followed by….

Wednesday, April 11th: Allison Winn Scotch (The One That I Want, Time of My Life, and The Department of Lost and Found) will be at TDW on the eve of publication for The Song Remains the Same.

Watch for both guest appearances and the Book Giveaways.

Happy Holiday Weekend!

Picture the Book:
The Song Remains the Same

March 08, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Book Trailers, Books

“What if” Allison Winn Scotch (The One That I Want, Time of My Life, and The Department of Lost and Found) — whose writing is naturally inspired by music — crafted a novel that revolves around how deeply music affects/recalls memory? Fortunately the NYT bestselling author has done just that and her fourth novel, The Song Remains the Same will be released next month on Thursday, April 12, 2012.

Part-thriller/mystery, the book questions and answers:

Who are we without our memories? And how much of our future is defined by our past?



A brief synopsis:

One of only two survivors of a plane crash, Nell Slattery wakes in the hospital with no memory of the crash – or who she is, or was. Now she must piece together both body and mind — with the help of family and friends who have their own agendas. She filters through photos, art, music and stories, hoping something will jog her memory, and soon – in tiny bits and pieces –Nell starts remembering…
It isn’t long before she learns to question the stories presented by her mother, her sister and business partner, and her husband. In the end she will learn that forgiving betrayals small and large will be the only true path to healing herself — and to finding happiness.

And, of course, the wonderful reviews:

“Bestseller Winn Scotch sparkles in her captivating fourth novel. Readers will love Nell and won’t be able to put the book down until they know how much of her past she wants to bring into her future.”– Publishers Weekly

“Readers who appreciate women’s fiction that investigates serious themes will enjoy Scotch’s fine novel. Reading groups will find much to discuss as well.” – Library Journal

“A devastating portrait of one woman’s struggle to regain her memory. Allison Winn Scotch’s novel The Song Remains the Same takes on fascinating emotional terrain — the decision between dredging up the past, or wiping the slate clean and starting over. I can’t remember becoming so engrossed in a novel so quickly or feeling so satisfied at the end.”
– Elin Hilderbrand, bestselling author of SILVER GIRL and THE ISLAND

“Who would we be without our memories, good and bad? This funny, poignant, and absorbing page-turner raises that question and many others, about the nature of love, trust, family and friendship. I’m still thinking about the main character and her surprising journey long after I turned the final page.”
–J. Courtney Sullivan, author of COMMENCEMENT and MAINE

“From the first pages of THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME, I was hooked. Nell is a heroine you will cheer for; and long remember after finishing the book!”
– Lauren Weisberger, bestselling author of THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA

As for my truth: In THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME, Allison has written the ultimate “what if?” by wiping her heroine’s mind clean. Nell can start over and become a “fabulous me.” Yet memories cannot be erased from one’s heart, especially when music triggers emotional recall and pulls Nell back to the past in order to understand her present. Writing stronger than ever — with brilliant insight –, the author risks telling a darker story of survival filled with courage and hope in discovering one’s truth.

To further pique your interest while not divulging any *spoilers* of Nell Slattery’s story, this Fairy Godmother decided to Picture the Book through three musical videos of songs chosen by the author. The very first page of the book contains the protagonist’s playlist and can be enjoyed here. However why not be entertained by the following selections and explanations?

AWS: Joe Cocker: Have a Little Faith in Me.
This is really one that embodies the spirit of the book as a whole. There’s a reason that it’s the first song and the first musical reference that Nell hears. (And yes, I know that there’s a John Haitt version, but I didn’t think many people would know it if I opted for that version!)

(If the video is not visible on your monitor, please view it here.)

AWS: Carly Simon:Let the River Run
This song, for me, is about embracing freedom and well, letting your own river run. Again, this is a pivotal song for Nell, and I must have filtered through a hundred different options before settling on this one. It needs to be really representative of her emotional state when she first hears it, and then again, when it comes back into her life.

(If the video does not appear on your monitor, please view it here.)

AWS: Van Morrison: Into the Mystic
This song is so deeply representative of childhood and innocence that I absolutely felt compelled to include it in the book. I know that the lyrics themselves aren’t overtly about anything related to childhood, but for me and for Nell, the song really encapsulates those long summer days when you didn’t have a care in the world.

(If the video does not appear on your monitor, please view it here.)

CHAPTER ONE of The Song Remains the Same can be read now and then the book can be Pre-ordered. Enjoy….you will!

* * * * *

Announcement: The winner of Sarah Pinneo’s Julia’s Child is: Keetha. Congratulations! Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and the book will be sent out promptly.

Summer’s TBR Lists, V

June 23, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites, Q&A

Thank goodness for summer and its lazy, hazy days of being carried away by a book. Reaching out to discover what our authors/friends would be reading, The Divining Wand asked them:

What’s on your summer “must/want to read” list?

And, in this final wrap-up post, the following writers replied:

~Elise Allen (Populazzi YA coming August 1, 2011):

“The next book I can’t wait to get my hands on is Allen Zadoff’s My Life, The Theater, and Other Tragedies. I recently finished his Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have, and I adored it. He also has a memoir coming out called “Hungry” that I’m… well… hungry to read.

“Big picture though, I have to admit that the book looming over my future doesn’t come out until October: Rick Riordan’s Son of Neptune. My daughter and I devoured every book in the Percy Jackson series so far (and let’s be honest, the “new” series is not a new series — it’s a wonderful continuation of the same series), and we’ve been counting down the months until the next installment. Four more months to go!!!!”

~Robin Antalek (The Summer We Fell Apart):

“Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake and Year of the Flood, some books by Sue Miller, whom I’ve never read, The Local News by Miriam Gershow, Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt, The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer.”

~Tawna Fenske (Making Waves coming August 2, 2011):

“My reading tastes vary widely, but there’s something about summertime that makes me want to read something fun, frothy, and sexy. The book club I’ve belonged to for 10+ years even makes a special effort to read at least one “summer smut” offering during the warm months. I adore author Victoria Dahl’s sexy, funny contemporary romances and look forward to her string of new releases starting in September. I’m also looking forward to attending Romance Writers of America (RWA) Nationals in June/July so I can scope out all the upcoming releases!”

~Randy Susan Meyers (The Murderer’s Daughters):

“The moment I can I plan to read Meg Wolitzer’s new book: THE UNCOUPLING. Also, on my catch-up list is CLEOPATRA by Stacy Schiff, MALCOLM X: A LIFE OF REINVENTION by Manning Marable, FAITH: A NOVEL, by Jennifer Haighand SO MUCH FOR THAT by Lionel Shriver. Hmm…I better get some beach books in here.”

~Ivy Pochoda (The Art of Disappearing):

“Hmmm….so very much.

Barry Hannah’s “Long, Last, Happy”
TC Boyle’s “When the Killing’s Done”
I also want to read “The Pale King” this summer by David Foster Wallace

And I’m also planning to reread the four Sherlock Holmes novellas.”

~Allison Winn Scotch (The One That I Want, Time of My Life, and The Department of Lost and Found):

“I have so many books that I’m looking forward to – Elin Hilderbrand’s Silver Girl, Laura Dave’s The First Husband, Courtney Sullivan’s Maine, Gwendolen Gross’s The Orphan Sister, Meg Mitchell Moore’s The Arrivals…it feels like there’s an amazing wealth of smart writing for women these days, and it’s all culminating this summer. There’s also Diana Spechler’s Skinny, which I read an advance copy of, and truly adored.”

~Melissa Senate (The Love Goddess’ Cooking School, The Mosts YA, The Secret of Joy, the rest in Bibliography):

“SO many. My little “‘check out this book'” notebook is full of great sounding books that I can’t wait to laze around with this summer. One in particular: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.”

~Leah Stewart (Husband and Wife, The Myth of You and Me, Body of a Girl):

“Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake and Year of the Flood, some books by Sue Miller, whom I’ve never read, The Local News by Miriam Gershow, Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt, The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer.”

~Wendy Tokunaga (Midori By Moonlight, Love in Translatio , and ebook, Marriage in Translation: Foreign Wife, Japanese Husband [Kindle Edition]):

“I’m looking forward to reading “Bossypants” by Tina Fey who I think is one of the sharpest writers around these days. Also “French Lessons” a new novel from Ellen Sussman that I think comes out this July.”

* * * * *

Announcement: The winners of Making Waves by Tawna Fenske are Julie Mann, Charlene Ross, and Monica B.W.. Congratulations!

Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and your book will be Pre-ordered to be sent on its release of August 1, 2011.

AND

Announcement: The winners of A Pug’s Tale by Alison Pace are Sunny and Jane Cook. Congratulations!

Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and your book will be sent out promptly.

What If….Allison Winn Scotch?

July 12, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites

What a day — or another week — for a daydream, lazing in the summer heat of July. In fact it feels like the perfect time to wonder “what if” The Divining Wand possessed magical powers and could grant authors, who create their own magic with “what if,” the following two questions:

Based only on their writing, what author would you want to be?

AND

If given the opportunity to have written ONE book in your lifetime, what would that title be?

~ Allison Winn Scotch (The One That I Want, Time of My Life, and The Department of Lost and Found):

“Oh gosh, impossible to say! Of course, I want to choose someone whom I deem to be genius, but then again, I have no idea what sort of personal happiness he or she has achieved. For me, it’s all about finding this balance, and since I really don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes of some writers – some of whom I think are so brilliant but whom I also suspect are a little bit tortured – I really can’t choose! I know you said based only on their writing, but some of that writing comes from a dark place.” 🙂

“Oh boy, again, I know I should choose something like Jane Eyre or The Sun Also Rises, but I’m going to say Then We Came to The End by Joshua Ferris. I read a lot of books that I think are wonderful but that I also think that maybe, if I’d come up with that specific idea and had a great writing day, that I could create something similar. (And I don’t mean that narcissistically, or to any way take away from other writers: I just think – and I’m sure that a lot of other writers thinks this too – that many of my peers write similar things to what I write, so blessed with a magic wand, we might all be able to do what the other does…within reason, of course!) But with his book, I was just TOTALLY blown away. I really don’t think that even on my best day, I could have conceived of the book in the way that he did, much less written it in the style that he did. He made me a fan for life, and I have total appreciation for the genius of that book.”

* * * * *

What Better Season for Turning These Pages

July 01, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Books in Review

On March 4, 2010 The Divining Wand’s post presented, Our Authors’ Spring/Summer Book Releases. Now, at the July 4th mid-summer break, let’s review those books you may have missed and belong in your TBR tote bag.

MARCH

Presenting Debutante Sarah Pekkanen and The Opposite of Me

Jenny Gardiner and Winging It

APRIL

Kristy Kiernan and Between Friends

Holly LeCraw and The Swimming Pool

Matthew Quick and SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR

MAY

Lauren Baratz-Logsted and Marcia’s Madness

Meredith Cole and Dead in the Water

Presenting Debutante Joëlle Anthony and Restoring Harmony

Barrie Summy and I So Don’t Do Makeup

Presenting Debutante Emily Wiinslow and The Whole World

JUNE

Allison Winn Scotch and The One That I Want

Tish Cohen and The Truth About Delilah Blue

Allie Larkin and Stay

Carey Goldbergy, Beth Jones, and Pamela Ferdinand with Three Wishes

Trish Ryan and A Maze of Grace

Robin Antalek and The Summer We Fell Apart

Of course there are more books to come, including Alicia Bessette’s Simply from Scratch debuting on August 5th and Kristina Riggle (Real Life & Liars) second novel The Life You’ve Imagined releasing August 17th. Yet for a lazy, hazy holiday break, there’s more than enough great reading here. Enjoy!

* * * * *

Announcement: The winners of Robin Antalek’s The Summer We Fell Apart are Keetha and Jenny.

Congratulations! Please email: diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address, and the book will be sent out promptly.

Our Authors Journey, IV

June 17, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

Beginning with a late January post, The Divining Wand has revealed how its successful authors have traveled their personal road to publication. And now the remaining five answer the questions of how they handled rejection and what kept them going to reach their destination?

Alicia Bessette (Simply from Scratch coming August 5, 2010):

“Years passed between the day I really got serious about writing, and the day I signed a publishing contract. There is no general time-line for when you “should” have something published. Everyone’s on her own path. It takes some writers decades to achieve publication.

“During the submissions process, I became very familiar with rejection. What kept me going? A husband who believes in me, and an inner refusal to quit. Too, I surrounded myself with positive people who made me feel as though I was bound to succeed. And I tried to avoid negative people whose comments, questions, or attitudes made me second-guess myself.”

Carleen Brice (Orange Mint and Honey, Children of the Waters):

“I’ve been very lucky. Very lucky. My first book was nonfiction and I sold it myself, getting a publisher only after a handful of rejections. My first novel was sold about 4 months after it went on submission. That is remarkably fast. However, it didn’t feel that way at the time, and the novel was rejected by about a dozen publishers. As those rejections were coming in, it felt awful. I started to lose hope. I am a Gemini so I feel uniquely qualified to be on submission. Half of me has complete faith that I will be successful and the other half completely believes I’m a big fat failure. What kept me going is the optimistic half of me. That and my agent’s belief in me, and my husband and my friends.”

Eileen Cook (Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA and Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA ):

“The answer to this question depends on when you want to start the clock ticking. I always wanted to write and my parents have one of my earliest “works” dating back to second grade. If we use that as the starting point then it took me a looooooong time. If we start from the time I finished Unpredictable, it took me about five months to find an agent and about six months with her between revisions and when I sold. Once I sold it was two years before the book came out. This is my way of pointing out that writing makes a lousy get rich quick plan.

“Rejection is a part of the publication process. When writers gather they show off their rejection scars like old war veterans. My approach to rejection was to feel sorry for myself for a maximum of 24 hours and then pull up my big girl panties and move forward. There is a saying that the difference between an unpublished writer and a published writer is perseverance. Rejection was just the world’s way of trying to figure out how serious I was about this publication plan.”

Judy Merrill Larsen (All the Numbers):

“From the day I wrote the first sentence of my first draft, to the day my book was available in stores was almost exactly 7 years. I learned to have a very thick skin to deal with the rejections (teaching high school and having kids had already helped me with that!), and I even learned to use the rejections as inspiration to keep going, to get it right. My friends and family also helped, encouraging me every step of the way. And I also knew that giving up simply wasn’t an option–this mattered, my story mattered, and I had to keep going.”

Maud Carol Markson (When We Get Home, Looking After Pigeon):

“How long did it take before you finally got published? And how did you handle rejection, what kept you going? My first novel got published very quickly, but then it took me twenty years until my next novel was published. I handled rejection by getting very involved in other endeavors– not simply seeing myself as a writer.”

* * * * *

Have you heard?

Allison Winn Scotch (The Department of Lost and Found, Time of My Life and The One That I Want) presents:

The Mother of All Giveaways

On her Wednesday, June 16, 2010 blog post, Allison writes:

“Yes, I use those words intentionally. Because today, I wanted to give shout-outs to some women writers (okay, they’re not all mothers) who have in some way been kind or helpful to me throughout my career, and well, throughout certain times of my life. Writing is a very solitary endeavor, but thanks to some of my friends, I always feel like I have a wide network of support. All of these women are generous – with blurbs, with advice, with open ears when we just need to complain, and just as importantly, all of them have (relatively) new books out. 🙂 And I’m grateful for them, not just for their brilliant words that go onto the page, but for their friendship.

SO.

Here’s the deal:

To enter the contest, click over to my Facebook page, where this contest is announced. Click “like,” on the giveaway or leave a comment underneath the announcement. You’ll be entered. Just like that. I’ll leave it open until Friday at 3pm EST, when I’ll choose the winners, each of whom will receive one of the fabulous books listed below. Oh, and did I mention that each copy will be signed? Yes, the lovely ladies will be sending their autograph too.

Here are the goods that you’ll be up to win:” (Scroll down.)

* * * * *

Announcement: The winner of Three Wishes by Carey Goldberg, Beth Jones, and Pamela Ferdinand is Stacey.

Congratulations! Please email: diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address, and the book will be sent out promptly.

Our Authors Journey, IIII

June 10, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

Ever since the week of March 29th The Divining Wand’s posts have been filled with success. New/debut book releases can be found on these pages, fulfilling dreams for authors and rewarding enjoyment for readers….with more yet to come. However it’s a fact that “getting published” doesn’t just happen. Instead the road to publication is a journey down a rather unpaved path.

How do some travel this area better than others? Four more of our successful, published authors answer the questions of how they handled rejection and what kept them going to reach their destination?

Meredith Cole (Posed for Murder, Dead in the Water):

“The publishing process is long–even for overnight sensations. And it’s not for the feint of heart, so you’ll have to be patient. It took me about a year and a half to write a book that I thought was pretty good. I started looking for an agent. Then I joined a writing group that brought me back down to earth. It was going to take a lot of fixing to make it decent. But I had an even better plot idea for the same characters. So I wrote my second book in about a year which became POSED FOR MURDER. I entered it in the SMP/Malice Domestic Best Traditional First Mystery competition, and had to wait 9 months to hear. Meanwhile, I continued looking for an agent and wrote a screenplay. Then I found out I won. But it was another almost two years before my book came out. It took a lot of patience, but I also realized that only one person (granted, an editor or agent) needs to fall in love with your book. You just have to find that person.

“If you do not love to write, don’t become a writer. That doesn’t mean that some days writing feels painful, but something inside you must drive you to continue. You have to believe it will happen and inspire yourself to continue. The only way to guarantee that you don’t get published is to give up.”

Ivy Pochoda (The Art of Disappearing):

“I submitted my book to ten agents and eight accepted it. Then my agent submitted it to twenty publishers and I received twenty rejections. I decided to rewrite the book and finally it sold. It took a year and a half. I never entertained the notion that my novel wouldn’t get published. I just kept going, started writing a new book. And when I began my new book, the original novel sold!”

Allison Winn Scotch (The Department of Lost and Found, Time of My Life and The One That I Want):

“I was writing for magazines before I wrote fiction, so my path has been littered with rejection for years. 🙂 That said, I wrote a manuscript that got me agent representation but that said agent couldn’t sell. After writing what would eventually go on to be my debut novel, said agent also told me that “it would be doing my career more harm than good,” to go out with that novel, and we promptly parted ways. I found new representation within weeks, and we got four offers on the book a few weeks later. So…all in? From the beginning of my agent search to selling that second manuscript? Hmmm, I’m not sure, but I’d say about a year, a year and a half.”

Wendy Tokunaga (Midori By Moonlight, Love in Translation):

“I started writing novels seriously in around 1994 and didn’t get my book deal until 2006, so that’s a dozen years. And my “debut” novel was the fifth novel I’d written. Several things kept me going. I can’t not write so there is no way I would have stopped. And as I took classes and consulted with teachers about my writing I began to garner more ‘“positive”’ rejections from agents and this showed me I was at least getting somewhere. Supportive writer friends also were a comfort and inspiration.”

* * * * *

Announcement: The winners of Tish Cohen’s The Truth About Delilah Blue are Rebecca and Wendy Kinsey.

AND

Keetha is the winner of Allie Larkin’s Stay.

Congratulations! Please email: diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address, and the book(s) will be sent out promptly.

Allison Winn Scotch and The One That I Want

May 31, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books


Allison Winn Scotch (New York Times Bestseller, Time of My Life, The Department of Lost and Found) launches her third novel, The One That I Want, tomorrow — June 1, 2010. And once again the question of “what if?” becomes the tagline for the book.

The backstory for The One That I Want is best described as “the bookend” for Time of My Life. In other words, after writing about “what if?” you could go back and change the past, the author decided this book would be “what if? you could see the future and either accept or change it. Acknowledging that she wanted to continue in the same vein because it felt like readers were responding/relating to the concept, Allison also says:

“I really enjoy writing these wish fulfillment types-of-books, but I didn’t want to do anything even remotely like TOML out of fear that people would think that was all I had in my arsenal. And also, of course, to challenge myself: I try to push myself with each book. So I aimed to take everything about TOML and flip it, while still keeping true to who I am as a writer, as well as the themes I like to explore about pursuing a bigger, more fleshed-out life.”

Indeed the writer succeeded because The One That I Want isn’t remotely similar to its predecessor, in fact it might even better! Why? How? Well carefully consider the synopsis:

What if you woke up one day to all your dreams coming true…but those dreams were more like nightmares?


Tilly Farmer is thirty-two years old and has the perfect life she always dreamed of: married to her high school sweetheart, working as a school guidance counselor, trying for a baby. Perfect.



But one sweltering afternoon at the local fair, everything changes. Tilly wanders into a fortune teller’s tent and meets an old childhood friend, who offers her more than just a reading. “I’m giving you the gift of clarity,” her friend says. “It’s what I always through you needed.” And soon enough, Tilly starts seeing things: her alcoholic father relapsing, staggering out of a bar with his car keys in hand; her husband uprooting their happy, stable life, a packed U-Haul in their driveway. And even more disturbing, these visions start coming true. Suddenly Tilly’s perfect life, so meticulously mapped out, seems to be crumbling around her. And as she furiously races to keep up with – and hopefully change – her destiny, she faces the question: Which life does she want? The one she’s carefully nursed for decades, or the one she never considered possible?



What if you could see into the future? Would you want to know what fate has in store?

Now read an excerpt, Chapter One.

And finally take note of the Reviews, including:

“An aching, honest look into the death and rebirth of relationships. Scotch answers hard questions about the nature of personal identity and overwhelming loss with a wise, absorbing narrative.” – Publishers Weekly

“Scotch specializes in heroines at a crossroads, questioning their life choices and preparing to embark on journeys of self-discovery. . . . [She] creates eminently relatable characters, with a particularly excellent understanding of the way sisters interact, and has the ability to craft scenes of real emotional weight.”- Booklist

“Well-told . . . a good choice for fans of women’s fiction and book clubs. It’s fast-paced and feels light yet still packs a satisfying emotional punch.” – Library Journal

These are glowing words for a book of substance. It’s true that in Time of My Life Jillian had problems of emotional weight with which to contend and she tried to solve them by escaping back into the past. But, in The One That I Want, Tilly is literally and figuratively stuck in the present with the clarity of how her past has — and will continue — to affect the future. There’s no escaping for her, only decisions to be made about “what next?”

In last week’s post, Guest Allison Winn Scotch on Scoring Your Goal, the author wrote, “….striving toward goals – both big and small – is an underlying theme of my new book.” Further adding: “My heroine, Tilly, had aspirations for herself – maybe not to light the world on fire, but enough to light her inner-self on fire, and somewhere along the way, she loses these aspirations, without even recognizing that she’s done so.”

Although Tilly Farmer is only thirty-two, she comes across as older and settled with the only goal in her sight — having a baby. While that is the dream/goal of countless women, a baby for Tilly would mean she had achieved her perfect (and rather safe) life. For this protagonist doesn’t take chances. She married her high school sweetheart, chose a stable career as a guidance counselor, and returned to her high school to advise students of their future, bemoaning that most are anxious to move out of the small town.

Tilly thinks she’s happy. Even Allison was initially fooled until she “found” out how much anger the character had. Between the compromises that she’d been forced to make, the decisions that she’d never had the chance to opt for, and a future filled with watching over others, Tilly doesn’t dare to dream BIG. Because, if she does, her illusion of safe happiness falls apart.

After completing The One, the author mentioned in a blog post that there would be fans who wouldn’t like this more serious, darker storyline. How unfortunate. Because TRUTH: Allison soars in telling a multi-layered, complex story of real people with real problems who need to find real goals/dreams to enjoy happiness. The writing is brilliant and carries not a trace of Allison’s own voice — a personal goal she had set for herself.

This writer is known to be “the real deal” as a person. With this third novel, Allison Winn Scotch becomes “the real deal” to critics, fans, and new readers. The book is The One That I Want and you can have it too…tomorrow!

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one copy of Allison Winn Scotch’s The One That I Want in a random drawing to anyone who comments only on this specific post. Comments left on other posts during the week are not entered into the contest. The deadline is Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winner to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to possibly claim your book.

Guest Allison Winn Scotch on Scoring Your Goal

May 25, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts

[Are you on the path to leading the life you want by setting goals or merely dreaming? In today’s guest post, Allison Winn Scotch (New York Times Bestselling Author of Time of My Life, The Department of Lost and Found), shares the direction she took to professional dreams, then goals, and why her new main character needs a wake-up call to discover The One That I Want — coming June 1, 2010.]

One of the questions I’m most often asked, now that I’m fortunate enough to earn my keep as a novelist, is, “Did you always want to be a writer,” and I always feel a little awkward answering that because my answer isn’t a definite yes. I feel like, as fortunate as I am, shouldn’t I have been striving toward this goal with every fiber of my being since I was a kid? I mean, let’s be clear: there are folks out there who feel that way, who would chop off a finger to be a published author. So when my cheeks redden a little at this question, that’s why – I love this job and part of me always hoped to do it, but it was one of several aspirations I had for myself, not the only one.

The reason I even raise this confession is because striving toward goals – both big and small – is an underlying theme of my new book, The One That I Want, and in writing it, I was able to give a lot of time and focus as to my own goals, and to what those goals have been throughout my life. And it also made me realize how easily these goals are thrown off-track. My heroine, Tilly, had aspirations for herself – maybe not to light the world on fire, but enough to light her inner-self on fire, and somewhere along the way, she loses these aspirations, without even recognizing that she’s done so. And while I didn’t relate to Tilly on a lot of levels, I can see how easily our hopes for ourselves slip through our fingers without even noticing it.

I’m lucky: I’ve always been fairly bullheaded and with a maiden name like Winn, I grew up in a household where my father’s frequent question was “What’s your last name?,” to which I’d begrudgingly answer “Winn” and role my eyes. But the lessons were there: he taught me not to compromise, to raise the bar high. Still though, when I graduated from college and had not one clue what to do with my life, my parents urged me to become an investment banker, like my older brother. I dragged my heels and made my rounds of interviews but knew a small part of me would die if I had to wake up and put on a suit and analyze numbers every day. I wanted to be an actress, wanted to sing, perform, and yes, write, as I’d done for my college newspaper and throughout my life, but making a living as a writer seemed, well, IMPOSSIBLE, and having graduated from an Ivy League school, making a living as an actress seemed irresponsible somehow, so I compromised and got a job in PR.

I lasted eight months. And then I quit to pursue acting anyway.

That day, when I went into my boss’s office and gave notice, that spark, that fire was reborn, the one that extinguished in Tilly. Quitting was exhilarating, I could literally feel it in my blood, that I was going to chase my dream despite the fact that all logic dictated otherwise. I won’t bore you with the details of how I got from there to here, but taking that first step – recognizing that tuning into my goals – was critical. (Or tuned into my dreams – I do think there’s a difference, and one that I realized eventually: goals are pragmatic, whereas dreams are less so…a conclusion I definitely came to when I finally opted to stop acting.) But back to my story of when I was 23: I was doing it -I was pointing myself in the direction of the life I wanted to lead, and that’s all I could ask of myself. Really, I think that’s all anyone can ask of themselves. It’s all that I wanted Tilly to ask of herself too, and without revealing too much, eventually, she realizes that we’re all worthy of looking toward our goals, whether they’re to be a New York Times bestselling author or to be able to run a 5k without stopping. The small goals can accumulate and result a big goal: living the life you hoped for. I’m still tweaking – I think we’re all still tweaking – but I think half the battle is being aware of your goals and that setting them for yourself is critical. Small ones, big ones, just put them out there for yourself, and then, ready, set, go.

* * * * *

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one copy of Emily Winslow’s
The Whole World in a random drawing to anyone who comments only on this specific post, Presenting Debutante Emily Winslow and The Whole World. Comments left on other posts during the week are not entered into the contest. The deadline is Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winner to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to possibly claim your book.

AND

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one copy of Barrie Summy’s
I So Don’t Do Makeup in a random drawing to anyone who comments only on this specific post, Barrie Summy and I So Don’t Do Makeup. Comments left on other posts during the week are not entered into the contest. The deadline is Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winner to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to possibly claim your book.