When I learned that I would be able to review Allison’s latest book, I was so thrilled because, while I hadn’t yet read her first book, but was quite familiar with her ‘God Allows U-Turns’ series.
I took the book on vacation with us to California and read it on the plane trip over. I was so engrossed in the book that I finished it on the four hour flight. After reading about Ursula Rhoades, and the way she created this character, I am anxious to go back and read ‘A Stitch in Time.’
While Ursula is quite content with her role as a Christian housewife, it is apparent that she left a notable career opportunity to devote her time taking care of her husband and children.
She lives in a world of opulence, glitz and glamour, but instead of becoming overly impressed by the lavish lifestyles, Ursula remains grounded and focused on her faith.
An opportunity arises to work with famous rock star, the spoiled-used to getting whatever he wants-Nik Prevel, which gives Ursula a taste at what she was missing all those years—but she keeps it a secret from everyone close to her.
This little secret causes all sorts of upset in Ursula’s world and threatens to cause damage to her personal relationships.
While she learns some valuable life lessons throughout her experience, Ursula also learns that with God, all things are possible.
I was inspired to write the female character first, after watching a TV interview with Meryl Streep where she told the host she wanted to work on a film where she could sing. I figured I’d write one for her. (Insert a big smile here.) I “think” in movies, I’m a movie-holic, specifically sappy romantic comedies and love stories. I figured the GRAMMY awards would be a fun setting, and then I figured if I really wanted conflict I needed a self-absorbed rock star. For me, developing a book outline is really more like writing a screenplay, I “see” the book in visual scenes first. In fact, I developed a Hollywood Casting Call Contest where readers can visit my web site and vote for the Dream Cast to play the characters in ONE LITTLE SECRET if it every gets adapted into a screenplay. I think it would (will) make a great movie! Readers can vote for actors and actresses here: http://www.boomerbabesrock.com/bookcontests.html So far, Catherine Zeta Jones is winning for Ursula, although she’s a tad young to be a mom to college-bound kids. J BTW, I developed ONE LITTLE SECRET first as a screenplay called JUST A HOUSEWIFE. When Bethany House wanted a second novel after A STITCH IN TIME, I immediately thought of this story, realizing that it would make some great Boomer-Lit! I’m also a People magazine addict…as well as Vogue, “W,” In Style and a handful of other fashion and entertainment magazines. 🙂
2. Many who are contemplating the writing life, often wonder how much time it takes–when people ask me, it is hard to say, as some days I spend many hours and some days I spend only a few minutes. What about you, on average, how many hours per day do you devote to writing your novels?
It’s depends on how close to a deadline I am (smile) in which case I give myself a “words per day” deadline. For instance, if I need to write 3500 words every day for x amount of days in order to make my deadline, then I sit in the chair until it’s done. But I’m a full time writer, so on average I spend several hours every day writing something.
The refrigerator. Email. A good book. Distractions! I have Attention Deficit Disorder and if I don’t keep myself focused I am so easily distracted. It’s horrible sometimes! But these days, email is my waterloo.
Some? You’re being kind…there was a whole lot of me in “Stitch,” from the weight loss surgery aspect to the career as a professional fundraiser, to living in southern California. It’s been said that debut novels are often the most autobiographical in a novelist’s career. It’s also said that the second novel—the follow-up—is infinitely harder to write because you’ve used up pretty much everything you know in novel number one, and now the rubber meets the road for real creativity. (insert a big smile here.) That said, One Little Secret has far less of my real-life experience, which was a true joy to write! I had so much fun with this book!
5: You changed POV’s entirely with One Little Secret…your debut novel, A Stitch in Time was first person and One little Secret is written in third person. Why did you change and which style do you prefer?
Like a ga-zillion other women, I first fell in love with the genre of “chick-lit” reading the 1996 release of Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding. The intimate first-person POV allowed us to experience Bridget’s angst-filled journey right along with her. I was too green to know that first person POV is one of the most difficult to pull off. With One Little Secret, I wanted to see if I could get inside the head of a male character—as well as have more freedom of description and story telling that third person allows. I had a blast with this style. I’d have to say that while I enjoy reading first person, I enjoy writing third person more. All three Va Va Va Boom books will be third person.
6: Excuse me? Va Va Va Boom? What’s that about?
I’ve just been contracted by David C. Cook Publishers to write three new Boomer-Lit books in a series I’ve called THE VA VA VA BOOM series. All three books will introduce entrepreneurial boomer babes who own their own businesses. Additionally, each woman has a deep dark secret and a deep dream desire. The first book in the series will release in 2009.
7: Okay, since you mentioned it, what is a Boomer Babe? And how did that come about?
Here’s the definition that appears on my web site. “A Boomer Babe was born between 1946 and 1964, we are women who are comfortable enough in our own skin to realize that the mid-life years can be some of the best and most exciting in our entire life. That the hubris of youth is behind us and the wisdom of the years has made us pretty darn attractive—both inside and out. We are Boomer Babes and we’re proud of it!”
For years I’ve been known as the “God Allows U-Turns Poster Girl.” I’ve been blessed with that moniker and it’s always a joy to share with people how my life direction radically changed. Yet over the years, I found myself being drawn to the challenges my fellow baby boomer sisters were experiencing. In late 2006 I woke up one day with the idea to develop a web site separate from www.GodAllowsUTurns.com devoted to boomer women. We launched the new business, www.BoomerBabesRock.com on January 1st of 2007. A cornerstone of the outreach is a monthly electronic e-zine that we call a “Dream-Zine.” It’s called Boomer Babes with Brilliant Dreams and our goal is to empower and encourage baby boomer women to achieve the dreams of their heart.
8. When you speak of not giving up on your dreams, how does the average baby boomer get beyond their own feelings of insecurity in order to make their dreams happen?
With a lot of prayer, persistence, and positive thinking! You must believe you can do it and then do what it takes to make it happen!
It gets harder every year because the competition increases every year. But it’s not impossible! Do your homework, study the craft, and I strongly suggest you attend a writer’s conference or two and meet some editors face-to-face.
About the same as going to Disneyland versus the Dentist. Okay, maybe not that different, but writing fiction for me is a fun romp in fantasyland and my non-fiction is typically very heavy stuff. The “heavy stuff” requires a focus that takes a whole lotta energy out of my soul. I LOVE what I do, don’t get me wrong, but my non-fiction comes from personal experiences that I feel compelled to write about. Point in case, my next non-fiction project is a spring 2008 release from Harvest House called: SETTING BOUNDARIES WITH YOUR ADULT CHILDREN – SIX STEPS TO HOPE AND HEALING. This came from very painful life experiences with my own son.
11. How did you decide to write a novel after having so many successful non-fiction books? (Has writing a novel always been in your heart?)
I’ve always wanted to write fiction. In fact, when I grow up I’d like to work in the world of film—writing screenplays. I have a deep love for creating those sappy, romantic comedy fairy-tale love stories that women can escape into. However, I had a major life-changing epiphany at the age of 35 that brought me closer to God in a very profound way. As a result of that, I founded an organization called: GOD ALLOWS U-TURNS. A vital aspect of that organization is a compilation book series of true short stories written by people from all around the world. The GOD ALLOWS U-TURNS anthology collection took off with its first volume published in 2001 and today, there are 23 plus books under the recognized GOD ALLOWS U-TURNS “brand.” That said, I was blessed to enter the world of publishing and get my feet wet—more important—I was able to make connections with editors and publishers who were able to see how I conducted my business.
I also began attending writer’s conferences as an instructor, and while there I was able to take classes as a student with some amazing novelists who generously shared their craft in workshop sessions. I soaked up everything I could about how to write fiction—taking notes—buying tapes—listening over and over again to teachers like Angela Hunt, Gayle Roper, Brandilyn Collins, James Scott Bell, Jack Cavanaugh, Lauraine Snelling, and Tracie Peterson. It was after taking a 3-day long intensive workshop with Tracie Peterson that I was able to fine-tune my work-in-progress and submit it with a proposal to Bethany House. The rest, as they say, is history. Bethany House signed me to write two novels and the whirlwind began.
12. Your life story is a major part of the entire God Allows U-Turns outreach—in fact, your testimony given at the Crystal Cathedral is available as an audio file download on your web site. I like what you said–that the choices we make change the story of our life. What final words can you tell us about how that led to the publishing of One Little Secret?
Karen, I was 35-years old when I made the choice to fill the empty place in my heart and soul with an intimate relationship with Jesus. It was a choice that changed my life—and the story that unfolded as a result of that new direction u-turn is far more grand and glorious than I could ever have imagined on my own. One Little Secret is a small part of my journey. Yes, it’s a dream come true—being published as a novelist. But I know in my heart that I owe it all to a Sovereign God whose plan for my life requires me to adhere to living a life of spiritual integrity—and that takes conscious choices each and every day I’m alive. Being a Christian who walks the talk isn’t easy—not by a long shot. Scripture tells us, “Choose this day whom you will serve,” and that means more than going to church on Sunday. With every book I am blessed to have published comes a deep feeling of responsibility. God has greatly blessed me, and it is my desire to write work that will glorify Him. Long story short, life is a series of choices each and every moment we are alive—“choose this day whom you will serve.”
Allison, is there anything you’d like to share with readers before you go?
I encourage your readers to tell me what they think about One Little Secret. I really do want to hear reader feedback. I’m working on my next novel to release in summer of 2009 and I take to heart reader comments. They can reach me here: AB@AllisonBottke.com and please, I’d love to invite everyone to participate in the Hollywood Casting Call Contest where a lucky winner can win an all expense paid trip to Hollywood! Visit my web site and select the actors and actresses you think would make the best lead characters in One Little Secret! Check it out here: http://www.boomerbabesrock.com/bookcontests.html
And …we have a monthly newsletter that we call a “Dream-Zine,” I’d love to invite your readers to subscribe: http://www.boomerbabesrock.com/dreamzine.html
And …we have a co-authored blog with six best selling authors blogging each and every day – BOOMER BABES WITH BRILLIANT DREAMS: http://www.boomerbabesrock.com/blog/ I hope your readers will check us out.
However, more important than all of that is my final word of the day…and that is for your readers to take the risk and reach for their dreams! God has placed a desire in your heart—He has given you special gifts—and he wants you to use them. No matter how old we are—there is still time to discover God’s purpose for our life—and to make the choices that will change the story of our life.
Thanks for taking the time to interview here at Write2thePoint. I look forward to the times we connect in the future!
Thanks so much for having me!