This blog was featured on 01/21/2018
Q&A with Allison Winn Scotch, author of Between Me and You
Contributor
Written by
Stephanie Elliot
January 2018
Contributor
Written by
Stephanie Elliot
January 2018

 

It’s been more than 10 years since I first read Allison Winn Scotch’s The Department of Lost and Found and I’ve been a fan ever since. Six books later, Allison continues to write about complex relationships. Her latest, Between Me and You is a story about love, family and fame from the perspectives of a screenwriter husband and his actress wife. We asked Allison some questions about reading, writing, and more!

What’s Between Me and You about?
Here’s the blurb: When their paths first cross, Ben Livingston is a fledgling screenwriter on the brink of success; Tatum Connelly is a struggling actress tending bar in a New York City dive. They fall in love, they marry, they become parents, and they think only of the future. But as the years go by, Tatum’s stardom rises while Ben’s fades. In a marriage that bears the fallout of ambition and fame, Ben and Tatum are at a crossroads. Now all they can do is think back…

A life of passion, joy, tragedy, and loss – once shared – becomes one as shifting and unpredictable as a memory. As the pieces of their past come together, as they explore the ways love can bend and break, Ben and Tatum come to see how it all went wrong – and wonder what they can do now to make it all right.

What was your first published piece? And when was it?
Well, I ghostwrote a book before my first published piece, but the first byline with my name was an article for BRIDE’S magazine on your different flower options at your wedding!

What are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m writing the screenplay for Between Me and You. I’m lucky enough to have a friend who is a very well-established screenwriter who read the book and thought that we should collaborate on the screenplay – he’s been guiding me and helping me navigate the ins and outs of a different form of writing. It’s a whole new muscle for me, but after years of writing novels pretty much exclusively, I’m ready to try something unique, and so far, I’m having a great time.

What books are you reading now? How does your reading throughout the year change? Can you read while writing/drafting?

I just finished Little Fires Everywhere, which needs no further praise from me but truly was magnificent! And I just started The Perfect Mother by Aimee Malloy last night – it’s not out until the spring, but I am lucky enough to share an agent with her, so I snagged an advanced copy.

If you weren’t an author, what would you want to be? 

Songwriter. Or maybe a radio DJ, if I were lucky enough to make it in either one of those fields. I’m a music junkie, so I’d like to think I’d be able to follow that passion if I weren’t working on books.

What is something unique/quirky, annoying or endearing about you that most people don’t know?
When my husband and I retire, we want to move to Ojai and open a ranch for senior dogs. If we could do this tomorrow, we would. (I don’t know how quirky that is, but it’s true!)

What is one non-electronic item you MUST have with you every day and why?
Orbit Bubblemint gum. I’m quite literally addicted to it. Also, I’m a huge fan of NYX lipglosses. They’re, like $5, at the drugstore but really moisturizing and give you just a pop of color. (I swear, I wasn’t paid to say that!) I have a bunch of them in every bag and jacket pocket.

When did you feel like you had made it as an author?
Last summer, I got a brochure/newsletter from my college on recommended summer reading. I went to a big school with A LOT of impressive alumni. Like, literally, I don’t even register on their list of distinguished alums. Anyway, they listed 10 or so books, and my most recent book was on there! I almost fainted. Truly. It really was a “wow, this is real” moment.

What’s the coolest thing a reader has done for you? 
Hmmm, I honestly think the coolest thing that any reader can do ever (and I don’t mean this in any facetious way) is let you know when he or she has loved your book. That, ultimately, is why we write – to create something that resonates with someone else – and so that is what I appreciate most. A kind email, a tweet, or a nice review.

What is your go-to or favorite writing snack/drink?
Um, see the above about my Orbit gum addiction. I am also a huge snacker, so I do get up and munch on cookies throughout the day. (I am currently obsessed with those disgusting soft white cookies with icing on top at the grocery bakery.) But mostly, I have to chew gum while writing. I don’t know why. Maybe it gives my brain just enough of a distraction that it blocks out the other noise in my life and I can focus on the matter at hand?

Which author would you freak out over meeting? (Alive and dead) And what would you ask him or her? 
Well, I did once freak out when I met Joshua Ferris, and honestly, I think he was embarrassed for me. (This was a while ago, right after his book, Then We Came to the End published, and it was my absolute favorite.) Gosh, this is such a hard question. Hmmm, well, since I did just watch the Golden Globes, and since I thought she was brilliant in her speech, am I allowed to say Oprah? I realize that’s sort of a cop-out, but to be honest, I admire so many authors and am lucky enough to count so many as friends… wait, nope, I just realized: Stephen King. Sorry, Oprah! Stephen King was my absolute favorite as a child (yes, I was probably a weird child), and I would go a little bananas and sweaty if I had the chance to grace his presence.

What was the most surprising thing you discovered from publishing your book(s).
That the work really doesn’t get easier. You can publish one book but then you still have to start with a blank page and your creativity on the next one. Sure, there’s a learning curve but every book is scaling a new mountain. Sometimes, I think authors are nuts to keep going.

Best advice you have received as an author?
Read as much as you can. When I was first starting out, I wrote a manuscript which got me an agent but really wasn’t very good. An editor friend of mine suggested a few books to read, not as a reader but rather as a writer – she wanted me to pay attention to the craft, not just the experience. I did, and it was really illuminating, and certainly helped me when I rolled up my sleeves and wrote a second, better manuscript that went on to be my debut novel. Also, learn about the business end of the industry. I really treat my career like a small business and am proactive on the business/administrative side, not just the creative side.

What are some of the challenges of writing a book? How do you combat these challenges?
Oh man, how much time do we have here? Well, for me right now, the challenge is finding something new to say. I am so envious of authors who always have ideas percolating. I’m not like that. I just wait for the big idea to strike and until then, I sort of occupy my time doing other things hoping said idea will strike. But beyond the inspiration, there are all sorts of other hurdles: dealing with rejection, being OK with criticism, understanding that a book’s sales (or lack thereof) don’t necessarily dictate whether or not the story inside was wonderful… a lot. I suppose I deal with all of this with a healthy dose of reality. I know what I can and can’t do: all I can do is write the best book I’m capable of. And then I try to let the anxiety go. I have a pretty fulfilling life outside of my career, so that helps. I think for my first few books, I worried and worried and worried, and none of that stress changed one thing. They did how they did. People read how they read. Now, I hope that my books take flight but even if they don’t, I’ll be OK. It’s hard to accept that something we poured ourselves into may not ascend to the heights we hoped, but sometimes they will and other times they won’t, and ultimately, that changes nothing about work you put in and the fact that someone read something you wrote and hopefully loved it.

How many books are in your #TBR pile? What book or books are you looking forward to reading?
So many, too many!!! After I finish The Perfect Mother, I’m starting Elyssa Friedland’s The Intermission, and then I’m on to Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours.

 

BIOs:

Allison Winn Scotch is the bestselling author of seven novels, including Between Me and You, In Twenty Years and The Theory of Opposites. She lives in Los Angeles with her family and their dogs.

Stephanie Elliot is an editor and author. Her young adult novel, Sad Perfect, is based on her daughter’s experience with ARFID/Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. 

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