[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 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.