The Divining Wand

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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.”

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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.

The Revealing of Allison Winn Scotch

May 19, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

The ever popular Allison Winn ScotchNew York Times Bestselling author of Time of My Life and The Department of Lost and Found — is less than two weeks away from the release of her third novel, The One That I Want, available on June 1, 2010.

This highly anticipated book has been described by Allison as a “bookend” to Time of My Life which was based on the premise of “what if” you could go back and change your past. The One That I Want flashes forward with the question:

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

And literary critics are more than impressed, here’s one review:

“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

The Divining Wand has scheduled a presentation/review of The One That I Want for Monday, May 31, 2010 yet — for now — let meet this talented, contemporary fiction writer by reading her “official” biography:

Allison Winn Scotch is the bestselling author of Time of My Life and The Department of Lost and Found. Prior to her fiction, she was a frequent contributor to numerous magazines and websites including Cooking Light, Family Circle, Fitness, Glamour, and Redbook, and now focuses on celebrity profiles for a variety of magazines. She lives in New York with her family.

And now for much more personal insights as Allison reveals:

Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: Fulfilling. Hectic. Blessed. Hilarious. Exhausting. Content. Striving. Loved.

Q; What is your motto or maxim?
A: If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you, I came to live out loud. – Emile Zola.

Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: Kisses, success, hugs, confidence, joy in my children, nine hours of sleep.

Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: Losing one of my kids or having something harmful come their way.

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Paris. Or Anguilla.

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: My 3 year old daughter. Sheer, naked confidence.

Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: “I’m going to count to three. One…two…”

Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: Incredible guitar skills.

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: Raising children who cherish their independence and are bolstered by their self-confidence.

Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: That I am too independent.

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: My optimism.

Q: What do you regret most?
A: No regrets. Ever.

Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: Myself. Really.

Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: My petiteness: my avatars must add six inches to me online. (I’m short!)

Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Annie (Little Orphan) — she’s spunky, entrepreneurial, smart, loyal and stands up for herself.

Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: Andre Agassi. I had a raging crush on him as a teenager which has evolved into a hearty and well-deserved respect as an adult.

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Irresponsibility.

Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Celebrity interviewer.

Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: Rock star.

Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Kindness, intelligence, empathy.

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. Oh, also, maybe some bread. So chocolate-filled bread?

Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
Read My Mind by the Killers, Throwing It All Away by Genesis, The Long Way Round by The Dixie Chicks, Time by Chantel Kreviazuk, Let the River Run by Carly Simon. (But that’s for today. I could go on with this forever.)

Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris, Good Grief by Lolly Winston, The Dive from Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer, The Stand by Stephen King, The Help by Katherine Stockett

Allison Winn Scotch loves the social media and has proven that the past four years with almost daily posts on her Blog: Ask Allison. Visit her there, follow her on Twitter and friend her on Facebook. Because, since her optimism, humor, and sound advice are contagious, she’s likely to be the one that you want…to get to know even better.

* * * * *

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one copy of Thaisa Frank’s
Heidegger’s Glasses in a random drawing to anyone who comments only on this specific post, Thaisa Frank and Heidegger’s Glasses. Comments left on other posts during the week are not entered into the contest. The deadline is tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winner to be announced here in tomorrow’s post. If you enter, please return tomorrow to possibly claim your book.

Praise, Interviews, and Peeks at 2010 Books

November 10, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News

The upcoming year of 2010 promises an overwhelming number of excellent offerings by debut and many of our favorite authors. If you’re ready to begin anticipating, please take a look at the following:

Sarah Pekkanen whose novel, The Opposite of Me, debuts March 9, 2010 received this early praise from NYT bestselling author Allison Winn Scotch (The Department of Lost and Found, Time of My Life and The One That I Want coming June 1, 2010): (the novel) “hits the delicious sweet spot in its portrayal of a woman who must lose everything in order to find herself.” This is in addition to the cover quote of “Fresh and Funny and Satisfying.” __Jennifer Weiner

Joëlle Anthony (Restoring Harmony YA coming May 13, 2010) announces that she was one of the debut authors chosen to be interviewed for the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2011. She will be part of a series included in the guide under the heading First Books and will be interviewed by editor, Alice Pope.

And, if you haven’t heard yet, Allison Winn Scotch (The Department of Lost and Found, Time of My Life and The One That I Want coming June 1, 2010) has posted an excerpt of Chapter One from The One That I Want on her website. To learn more about the background of the novel, please read here.

Also do remember that the books mentioned and linked in all The Divining Wand posts are available for Pre-order.

Coming Attractions: A Movie and A Novel

October 14, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Books, Movies

Two popular authors shared exciting news last week and, if you missed it, here’s your opportunity to get caught up:

~ As you may remember Carleen Brice’s (Children of the Waters) debut novel, Orange Mint & Honey was optioned by the Lifetime Movie Network. About a month ago it was cast with Jill Scott as Nona Dixon and Nicole Beharie portraying Shay with the movie title changed to “Sins of the Mother.” Last Friday Carleen visited Vancouver where the film is being shot, then yesterday — Tuesday, October 13, 2009 — posted Pictures from Vancouver on the The Pajama Gardener blog. No news yet of an airdate, but please stay tuned.

~ Last Thursday Allison Winn Scotch (The Department of Lost and Found, Time of My Life) posted a picture too — that of her next book cover for The One That I Want being released June 1, 2010. The cover:

OneThatIWantcover

Here’s a brief synopsis: What if you could see into the future? What if you didn’t like what was revealed? Would you still choose to see it?

And you can read more here.

Two Coming Attractions = A Lot to Look Forward to!

Book Giveaway continues with a chance for you to win a copy of The Last Will of Moira Leahy. To enter, leave a comment on this post describing what made your younger self feel powerful, brave, or invincible. The deadline for all entries is THIS evening at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winner to be announced on tomorrow’s post.

What Comes After Time of My Life

July 23, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Books

Although the paperback edition of Allison Winn Scotch’s NYT bestseller, Time of My Life, will not be available until Tuesday, August 4, 2009, the author has been busy writing her third novel and trying to come up with its title. Yesterday, in her blog post of “Well, It’s Not Free Books, But…,” Allison announced:

“I DO have a title for the next book. Hurrah!

“After much debate, back and forth, and brainstorming, we have all agreed on the title of….

“Drumroll…

“THE ONE THAT I WANT.

“Yay! I love it! (I actually came up with it, so it’s a good thing I do.) And yes, there is a Grease subplot in the book, so the title is fitting in many more ways than one. By the way, have I even told you guys about it? I don’t think so. Wow. Okay, so here’s a little description, that I’m writing as we speak, so it might be rough around the edges, but should give you a general idea.”

Interested in the off-the-cuff synopsis? Read more…

You also may have guessed that Allison will be giving away free copies of Time of My Life so be sure to keep checking her blog.

As for “THE ONE THAT I WANT,” patience…its release date will likely be Summer 2010!