The Serious Questions
Mainly because I had stories that I wanted to share. Sharing is, in my opinion, one of the most human things you can do. It’s about connection. I would never have made a very good Emily Dickinson. What is the point of writing anything if you’re not going to put it out in the world and wave it around yelling “Does anyone else ever feel like this?”
Tell us about your current work in progress.
I’m in the final throes of revising a sci-fi book that I have been working on for a long time. Too long actually. If I squint I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s enough to make me fall to my knees and weep. Aside from the fact that this puppy is a hulking 400+ pages, it deals with multiple dimensions, chess, time travel, teenage angst, memory, Nietzsche and black holes. Honestly the more I think about it the more exhausted I get.
What do you do to cure writer’s block?
I have one really solid cure for writer’s block. Ready?
Don’t believe in it.
Seriously. It’s like fairies, if you are convinced they’re not real, then they’re not. No matter how hard you clap your hands. If for some reason your magic powers prove to be too miniscule, the other way to fight writer’s block is to keep a very strict schedule. It could be hours logged (that’s what I do) or words logged. Point is if you know that the hours of X & Y are dedicated to nothing but writing, you can train (read: fool) your mind into behaving. A schedule is important.
Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I don’t know. Both. Neither. I’m probably too much of a pantster which means revision can be a long and torturous experience. But I’m learning. Sort of.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I write 5 days a week from 5 am to about 7:30. I’ve been doing this for years. It’s not for everyone . I’m definitely not an early morning person so it’s been a struggle for me. But it works so I keep doing it. I didn’t invent this either. It was my husband’s idea. He’s also a writer and he started getting up early to get work done before the day began. I thought he was crazy (still do) but then I noticed how productive he was so I hopped on the bandwagon.
What is your favorite book? What about favorite book to movie adaptation?
I know it’s an incredibly cheap answer but it’s not possible for me to pick one favorite book. That said, Franny and Zooey is really really high on that list. But so is Life After Life and I just read that one recently. And so is Scott of the Antarctic by David Crane. I think it depends on what I’m interested in at the time.
My favorite book to movie adaptation is probably Wonder Boys. I actually like the movie better than the book which I realize is sacrilege. Also High Fidelity is a good one.
What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever done/researched for a book?
I’ve never really done anything too weird. I research mostly in other books. For the sci-fi book I spent a lot time reading about multiple dimensions and string theory and Nietzsche’s Theory of Eternal Return. But I didn’t interview Neil deGrasse Tyson or anything.
Damn, I should have done that.
What is the best piece of writing advice you NEVER followed?
Writing an outline. I have never written an outline or character description in my entire life. I do occasionally write things just to play with characters and often those things don’t wind up in any draft. But yeah, never wrote an outline. Course, I also get bogged down in revision so the message here might be that I should.
Why the burning desire to head to Antarctica?
I’m really interested in Robert Falcon Scott, a British explorer who, along with this men, perished trying to reach the South Pole. I’ve read about 7 books on him and the race to the south pole. A lot of people will say that Scott was completely outranked and incapable of handling the extreme situation he found himself in. He gets a lot of flack. But truth be told, his demise could just as easily be chalked up to conditions outside his control, poor leadership further up in the Geographical Society as well as man hauling during one of the worst winters in known history. I’m fascinated by British pluck. Nobody has more pluck than explorers.
Tell us about your current book!
This Is Sarah is a coming of age story about Colin Leventhal and Claire Evans. Because I’m not very good at talking about my writing, here’s the blurb.
When Colin Leventhal leaned out his bedroom window on the night of May 12th and said goodbye to his girlfriend, he never expected it would be forever. But when Sarah Evans goes missing that night, Colin's world unravels as he transforms from the boyfriend next door to the main police suspect. Then one year later, at her memorial service, Colin makes a phone call that changes everything. Is it possible that Sarah is still alive? And if so how can he bring her back?
As Colin struggles with this possibility, across the street, Sarah’s little sister, Claire learns how to navigate the strange new landscape of life without her sister. While her parents fall apart, Claire remains determined to keep going even if it kills her.
THIS IS SARAH serves as a meditation on loss, love and what it means to say goodbye.
A lot of people have asked me if it was based on real events. My answer to that is sort of. The book is about grief. And I, like most people, have had my share.
The Random Questions
Dinos or dragons?
What psychic power would you want?
Favorite Disney character?
Ugh. None of them.
Backpacking around the world….forever.
Tomatoes: Fruit or veggie?
Technically fruit, right? But yeah, it’s in my salad so it’s a veggie.
Morning Person or Night owl?
Favorite Book Ever:
Still can’t answer that.
Favorite Movie Ever:
Music Earworm of the Moment:
About the Author
Connect with Ally