Guest Post by Allison Winn Scotch

On Saturday I posted a giveaway for The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch.  And here is the lovely post wrote up by her and make sure you check out the giveaway for The One That I Want.  You can find it HERE.  Today is the release day for the paperback of this book so I hope you’ll consider going out and buying a copy for yourself :)  But before I bore you to death here’s Allison with a fabulous post.

When I talk to readers, which is my favorite thing about being an author, one of the most frequent questions I’m asked is, “Just how much of this book is based on your real life,” and the question always gives me pause because there are no concrete answers. While my initial inclination is to say that they’re not tied to my real life at all (after all – I’ve never traveled back in time or been given the ability to see into the future!), I also know that this inclination isn’t totally truthful. Because while the circumstances that my characters find themselves in have nothing to do with my own, I do think that if you’re really going to get to the emotional core of a character – and thus, hopefully write an honest book – somewhere, some part of you must relate to the journey that your characters take.

This was especially true with my second book, Time of My Life. The book chronicles the journey of Jillian, a discontent mom, who travels back in time to see if she’d have had a better shot at happiness if she’d done things differently, if her “what ifs” had actually transpired. Am I Jillian? No way, no how. But was even my husband a little nervous to read it? :) You betcha. Because while I don’t share a lot of her surface unhappiness – her endless days without adult stimulation with her toddler, her nostalgia for her old career, her struggle with forgiveness for her mother who abandoned her – I did understand the listlessness that was her undercurrent, that tugged her back toward the past. I experienced that listlessness in my 20s, and I was able to tap into it to write Jillian’s story. So while our circumstances are pretty starkly different, our emotional circumstances weren’t so far off – or at least they weren’t at one point. Now? I’m pretty content, though like everyone, I have my days. But back then? Discontentedness abounded. Am I making sense?

Which leads me to my new book, The OneThat I Want. I really enjoy chatting with readers about this one because Tilly, my heroine, is SO UNLIKE me that I very much struggled to find her voice and find that connection where I could say, “Oooh yes, that’s what we have in common. Now I can write you authentically.” Finally – after many months – I tapped in deeper to her problems, and I made her a little more angry, a little sharper, a little edgier, and then boom – we connected. I shaped a life that was very, very different than mine but still understood (I hope) how she’d react to her circumstances and hopefully, succeeded in creating a fully fleshed-out, emotive character.

That’s always my goal in writing. To write honestly. To tap into a difficult, vulnerable place and let that show on the page. To expose a sliver of myself without writing about my real life. Readers won’t always love the characters and might not even love what you put down on the page, but as long as their criticism isn’t about the emotional honesty or my attempts to create open characters who resonate, then I’m satisfied.

Which brings me back to my original paragraph: how much of these women are me? I guess it would be fair to say that there are fragments of me filtered throughout my books, like bread crumbs of my personality. Patch them all together, and you might see slices of my life, but mostly, my characters are their own people, and I wouldn’t be happy with my books if it were any other way.

Allison Winn Scotch
New York Times bestselling author
The One That I Want (Random House) <>

I want to say a big thank you to Allison for writing up this lovely post and I hope you’re going to go check her books out!

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  1. What a great guest post. Loved that last paragraph, beautifully put. But you brought up a good point. There is no yes or no answer to it. It is if you really are connected to your character on an emotional level really. You see what they see, feel what they fell and understand why they are feeling it. Great post again, thank you so much for sharing :)

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