A few months ago I was looking around on Amazon and I found a book by a Christian author called Trust Me Twice. I liked the title and the cover so I read the description and decided that I liked that too. For some reason, I didn’t get around to reading it until earlier this month. It was such a cute story that I decided I wanted to interview the author. She’s Australian, so I dare you to read her answers out loud in an Australian accent. I just tried and didn’t do too good (I’m terrible at accents).
Me: Alison, thank you for agreeing to this interview. First of all, tell us about your family.
Alison: I have been married to Josh for 8 years (time flies!) and we have two delightful little girls who are 6 and 4 years old. We live in Sydney, Australia.
Me: Aww, I have two little girls too! How did you get started in writing?
Alison: My passion for writing has developed out of a love for reading. About two years ago, I’d run out of good books to read, so I thought “Hey, why don’t I try and write my own book; the kind of book I’d like to read.” This is where Second Chances started. It was just an experiment, but as I spent the next 12 weeks getting lost in the lives of my characters, I realised it was something I loved. Once I published my book, I then began to see my writing as a way I could reach out to others and encourage them to trust their lives to God.
Alison: After writing my first book, Second Chances, I wanted to base another story in the town of Oakley. Alana was a minor character in my first book (Hannah’s older sister) and I was curious to find out her story. She seemed kind of mysterious to me, and as I wrote, I got to see her story unfold. It was fun.
Alison: As a Christian, I know that God has a plan for my life, but when things gets tough, it is easy to feel lost or like God doesn’t care. I have seen God at work through difficult circumstances in my own life, and I wanted to share that hope with others through my book.
Me: In Trust me Twice, I loved the part where Alana and Zac were passing each other notes under the door. As a writer I sometimes find it easier to express strong emotions in writing so I could relate with Alana being able to face Zac in writing rather than in verbal words. Would you describe yourself as the typical introverted writer or are you an exception to the stereotype?
Alison: I’m not a complete recluse, but I have to admit to being an introvert (I’m yet to find a writer who isn’t, although I’m sure they are out there). I loved the note-passing scene too. When I was writing it I could barely breathe, I was so caught up in the moment.
Me: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your books?
Alison: My book is aimed at teens and young adults, but a lot of my readers are in their thirties, forties and fifties. I think my book will appeal to anyone who is young at heart and enjoys a sweet, romantic love story with spiritual applications.
Me: What books have most influenced your life most?
Alison: The Bible would be the book with the biggest influence on my life. I try and read it a few times a week, as it helps me keep life in perspective. When I’m not reading it, I notice that I get anxious or feel depressed because there are things in this world that get you down – just watch the evening news! It is such an encouragement to know that there is more to life, and that I can have hope in God’s promises for the future.
Me: I have to say I concur with that. What is your writing process? Do you outline your book before writing it, or make it up as you go?
Alison: I tend to have a rough skeleton of where the story is headed, but I like the freedom of sitting in front of my laptop and seeing where things go. The negative side of this is that I have whole chapters I have deleted from my story because I followed a particular idea and then reached a dead-end. They key thing in writing a book is having an idea that you are passionate enough about to see through to completion. I find it helpful to write a synopsis (book jacket blurb) to help me flesh out who the story is about, the major conflict, and the spiritual themes I want to bring out.
Me: What are your hobbies?
Alison: I work four days a week, so I enjoy hobbies that don’t require too much energy or brainpower in the evenings. After my daughters are in bed, I might curl up on the couch next to my hubby and watch The Mentalist or Castle, or read a book. I also enjoy playing piano and singing.
Me: Any interesting facts about yourself?
Alison: I have a few weird talents that are occasionally useful for freaking people out, like saying the alphabet backwards in less than 3 seconds and bending my thumbs backwards. It’s been a while since I did that though…
Me: That’s funny! What book are you currently working on?
Alison: I’ve decided to take a break from the Oakley series and write a book that has been on my heart for a while. I got the idea from an experience I shared with my grandmother when she showed me some old letters she wrote to a young man who was overseas in WWII. There wasn’t any romance between them as my grandmother was a child at the time, but it got me thinking, what if she had been older…
Here is my synopsis:
When Ellie is forced to spend four weeks at her grandmother’s house over the mid-semester break, she thinks it will be torture. However, when she comes across a hidden box of old letters, she finds out things she never knew about her grandmother – and the mystery man who wrote those letters. As her grandmother shares her story, Ellie notices the parallels with her own love-life. When her faith is put to the test, will she listen to the wisdom of her grandmother and risk losing the guy she loves?
The difference with this book is that it is written from a first-person point of view, which is new for me, but I think it suits the book well and will appeal to my target audience.
Me: That sounds pretty intriguing. How can readers find out more about your books and upcoming projects?
Alison: If readers want to find out more about my writing, please stop by my website (http://alisonstanleychristianfiction.wordpress.com).
Me: Thanks very much for doing this interview, Alison.
Alison: Thanks so much for inviting me on your blog. It has been a pleasure.
My Review of Trust Me Twice
Alana and Zac were childhood friends but as they grew up Zac got all goodlooking and Alana was all awkward and slightly dorky. They grow apart, but meet again years later when they both go home to Oakley for Christmas, and by now Zac is a famous actor but Alana doesn’t know. I was so hoping they’d get together, but I guess you’ll just have to read the book to see what happens. I love cute love stories, and this one was just so cute. It only took a few hours to read. It’s set in Australia which is nice because I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set there. Thanks Alison Stanley for this heartwarming read.
You can find Alison’s books at Amazon.