Thursday, November 14, 2013

Author Interview: Allison Winn Scotch

Photobucket Tuesday was the release of Allison Winn Scotch's 5th novel, The Theory of Opposites and today she willingly answers our questions.

GJR: You are a well-established author, why the change to self-publishing? What kind of leverage do you think it gives you as an author?

AWS:  I’d felt demoralized over how many things were out of my control at the big publishers once I filed my manuscript. And I’d seen too many wonderful writers get pushed aside because their books hadn’t done well, when all they’d done was write a brilliant book. If an author writes a brilliant book, and it doesn’t sell, I’m not quite sure why he or she is blamed. But anyway. I’d grown disenchanted with the machine, and I have an entrepreneurial spirit, so it was kind of the perfect mix and the perfect time for me. As far as leverage? Well, I mean, anything and anyone can fail. I could have failed miserably at this. I think the only leverage it gives me is the control that I get back – from pricing (the book is just $2.99) to the cover to the marketing. But that’s BIG leverage and peace of mind for me, and that’s what I wanted.

For more on this you can see her article on Writer Unboxed 

GJR: How much research went into deciding to move to self-published? Will you do it again?

AWS: A ton and yes. I would never have jumped if I hadn’t armed myself with all of the research about how to do it well and how to do it right. Self-publishing has earned a reputation as amateurish because people scribble their manuscripts and call them books. That’s not how it works if you really want to be a pro. The process is and should be just as rigorous as anything you’d go through at a publishing house.

GJR: Between Richard Chandler and Vanessa, there’s a lot of philosophy going on in the novel. How much did you have to crack open those college philosophy books for research?

AWS: Ha! Funny enough, Philosophy was one of my favorite classes as a senior in high school. To be honest, the tough part wasn’t mulling over the philosophy behind the characters, it was keeping track of who thought what and being sure that the lines didn’t get too blurry between them all. It took a few drafts to really be clear on who had which stakes in which camp.

GJR: Which camp of thinking, Richard’s or Vanessa’s, do you think you fall into? Or do you think life is a blend of both, applicable in different situations?

AWS: I definitely do not adhere to Richard’s thinking – that everything happens for a reason or that free will doesn’t exist – but certainly, there are wonderful or terrible things that just happen in life with no rhyme or reason. But I’m a person who likes to be in control of her life, so I’d have a hard time embracing the idea that life happens to us rather than the idea that we chart our own lives. So in that way, I think I’m Team Vanessa.

GJR: You recently had a huge life change, moving from NYC to LA. How much of that experience and taking that risk went into The Theory of Opposites?

AWS:  Interestingly enough, a lot. The move has been really wonderful for us, and I think has fostered a real sense of contentment in our house. I couldn’t have written this book without that sense of contentment…I think my joy spills over to the pages. Also, last year was a year of change for us, and as someone who thrives on change (I’m a Gemini!), I just thought, “Hey, go for it, why not?” The worst thing that could happen would be that I’d fall on my face, and if that happened too, then I’d just stand up all over again.

GJR: Last time we talked when The Song Remains the Same was released, you were taking a break from writing novels and working on another project. What became of that project?

AWS: I wrote a screenplay – I think that’s what we were talking about! – for a production company out here, and Hollywood takes forever, so I’m still waiting. But it was a super-fun experience, and I’m glad to have dipped my toe into those waters.

GJR:  What inspired you to come back and write The Theory of Opposites?

AWS: Honestly, the joy of these characters. I had sort of given up on novels, but I had started this book a year or so ago and abandoned it. I happened to open it up one day, and all it did was make me smile, so I wanted to keep going, keep hanging out, passing the time with this ridiculous family. I really came to love them more than almost any of my previous characters, other than maybe Jillian from Time of My Life. They hold a pretty special place in my heart, not just because they’re awesome, but because they brought me back to writing fiction again.

GJR: You made a pretty big announcement before the release date of the novel in which Jennifer Garner and her production company picked up the option to develop The Theory of Opposites. How excited and stunned are you? I know it’s early, but do you know how involved you will be?

AWS:  I’m so elated. I’ve known for a while that it was in the works, but to share it with the world was just so amazing. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been a big fan of Jen’s for a while. I sent her the manuscript shortly after I finished it – she was probably one of my first ten readers – and she and her producing partner read it quickly and immediately expressed their enthusiasm. Honestly, at that point, I was just so stunned that anyone outside my immediate circle loved the book that that was the biggest focus. But now they’re getting started on it, and I know they’re going to do great things with it. As far as my involvement? They are being super-kind and keeping me in the loop, which normally doesn’t happen, but I trust them and am letting them do their thing.

GJR: What’s the biggest difference (besides weather) that you’ve noted between NYC and LA?

Oh, I was going to say the weather. That’s not fair! Okay, people in LA are much more laid-back than in NYC. Not that there’s anything wrong with the NYC ‘tude, but at this point in my life, I’m enjoying the sunglasses/yoga pants/cheery attitude that abounds in my area.

GJR: How does your writing space in LA differ from the one in NY?

AWS:  Home office in both places! I’m a lucky girl.

As always, much thanks to Allison for taking the time out her schedule for our questions!


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