Please join me in welcoming author Alison Strobel as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress on her current blog tour.
Alison is the author of THE WEIGHT OF SHADOWS. I have one copy of the book to offer as a giveaway and Alison also has a special book giveaway. Please see the end of the post for both contest guidelines.
Alison is answering some questions for me today about her new book and her writing.
First could you give a brief description of your latest book?
The Weight of Shadows looks at how guilt has affected three different people, and the various ways in which they each seek relief from it. The main story line is about Kim, a young woman who has built a successful life for herself after a difficult childhood, but who is plagued by guilt over a tragic mistake she made years ago. She finally finds the love she's always craved--as well as a way to pay for her sins--when she begins to date Rick and he starts to hit her. But when their baby daughter begins to experience his wrath, she must choose between her own relief from guilt and the safety of her innocent child. It's a book about redemption, forgiveness, and what real love looks like--and how all three are found in Christ.
What inspired you to begin writing?
I started writing stories when I was in first grade and just never stopped. Writing is in my blood. My father is a prolific writer, and even my brother has a book out! We're a very wordy family. :) Also, I was a voracious reader as a child, and still would be if I had the time! The books I read inspired me to try writing my own stories, and the rest as they say is history.
What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
Research. I haaaaaaate to research. I just want to write! But a good story requires knowing the subject matter, so it's a necessary part of the process. The last few steps of my outlining process are frustrating, too, because by the time I get to that point I'm soooo ready to just start writing. But those last few steps are the most important ones, so I can't let myself skimp on the time that I spend on them, otherwise the story suffers for it. It takes a lot of discipline to not just blow through it.
What element of writing do you enjoy the most and why?
Finally starting the first draft. My outlining process--I use Randy
Ingermanson's Snowflake Method--takes about a month to finish, and by the time it's done I'm really chomping on the bit to get going. The day that I finally open up that blank document in Scrivener (the writing program I use) is always a very exciting one for me. :)
When writing, do you have a routine that you follow or is each day different?
I work in the afternoons, after I've put my girls down for a nap, so I usually grab the second half of my lunch, bring it up to my office, and answer emails while I eat. After that, I take care of whatever little things *need* to be done that day--phone calls or placing book orders or whatever--and then I get to work on whatever step in the process I'm at: working on my snowflake outline, writing the draft, working on edits, etc. Lately it's been a little dicey because I'm having to not only work on outlining a new book, but also on marketing for The Weight of Shadows, as well as the proposal for another book since I'm nearly done with my current contracts and I need to start "shopping" for another one. So it's been interesting trying to juggle all of those. I also should have edits coming back soon on my Spring 2011 release, so that will make things even more 'exciting'!
What is next for you? Any other books you’re currently working on?
REINVENTING RACHEL will come out this September from David C. Cook. It's about what happens when a young woman decides to give up Christianity after experiencing a series of tragedies that she thinks God should have protected her from. That one is almost completed; just tidying up a couple little editing issues. Next spring MEMORY OF THE HEART will release with Zondervan; that one is about what happens when a famous Bible study writer and speaker becomes an atheist against her will. I've finished the main draft of that and am waiting to get the edits back from my publisher. And the outline I'm working on right now is for a book tentatively titled TROUBLE CHILD; it's about a young pastor's wife who develops bipolar disorder and how it threatens both her marriage and her husband's ministry. That one will release in fall of 2011 with Cook.
Any information you’d like readers to know about you or your books?
One of my most favorite things to do is to chat with book clubs who have read my books--or even talk to clubs who haven't read my books but are interested in hearing about the writing life and publishing process. If you're part of a book club, please consider one of my novels for your next selection, and then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule me to speak to your group either in person (for those in central Colorado), on the phone, or via the Internet on Skype or Google Chat.
Alison, thank you so much for answering all these questions. It’s always interesting to find out what a writer’s routine is like and what parts of writing they enjoy most.
Now for the giveaway contest. To enter the contest (open to residents of the U.S. and Canada) from this blog, just leave a comment on Alison’s post between now and 8 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, June 27. Be sure to leave your e-mail if it’s not included in your profile. Alison will also be mailing a signed bookplate with the book so it can be signed to the winner or someone they’d like to give it to. As an extra bonus, on July 18th, which is one week after the blog tour ends, Alison will choose one commenter from a randomly selected blog (participating in the tour) to receive either autographed copies of her first three books or a gift card to the winner’s favorite bookstore.
Be sure to check out Alison's blog for a complete calendar of her tour and the blogs she will be visiting. Her book can be found on Amazon and on Christianbook.com