Allie Pleiter is back with us talking about her first book in her Kentucky Corners series. Allie, why do you write the kind of books you do?
I’m not sure I could write any other kind. Humor is so much a part of how I see the world, it simply has to be in what I write. I write romance and women’s fiction because it’s my world, and because I’d much rather spend my time and energy on love and happiness than death, murder, angst, and other fiction topics. I do love spy and heist movies, but I don’t think I could ever write those stories. It’s a daily delight to craft happy endings—and the world sure needs them.
That is so true. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I’m having trouble coming up with one. The natural choices—my wedding and the births of each of my two children—were actually very high stress situations, and while they reflect happy choices, I don’t boil them down to specific days. I was delighted when I sold my first book, because it represented such a huge provision on God’s part (looooong story) and opened up so many doors for me. So, I suppose the short answer is that I’ve had lots of happy days and none strikes me as “happiest.” Sounds corny, but that’s how I truly feel.
That's what we want. How you truly feel. How has being published changed your life?
People think I’m less crazy now. Really. Being a published author gives you this license to be “one of those creative types” so no one looks at you funny (ok to your face maybe) when you do something odd-ball. I adore the flexibility of my job, especially with kids still in the house. I can still pick you up from the school nurse and get chapter 13 done while you’re home watching TV with chicken soup on the couch. I get to travel to do research and ask people to teach me crazy things like how to make soap or how to crack a whip. I get nice letters from total strangers. People operate under the illusion that I’m clever and talented (I try not to dispel the myth)—what’s not to like?
What are you reading right now?
I’m always reading three books—one fiction, one non-fiction, and one audiobook. I’m currently reading Getting Things Done by David Allen, which is a personal productivity book. I’m a big fan of time management and that sort of thing, and as a fanatical list-maker, I’m devouring this man’s method. The novel on my shelves is the epic Dracula tale The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova—this kind of wide-spectrum suspense isn’t my usual fare, but I’d heard so many good things about the writing, and they’re all true; it’s a well-crafted tale with fabulous chapter-ending hooks. My audiobook of the moment is Patrick O’Brian’s Post Captain from the Master and Commander series. I needed to reinforce the historical language in my ear as I begin work on the sequel to Masked by Moonlight, and I’d heard great things about the reading by Simon Vance—outstanding!
What is your current work in progress?
These days I’m all over the place. I’m putting the final touches on the third Kentucky Corners book, Bluegrass Blessings, which is Dinah the Baker’s story and comes out in July. I’m finishing the first draft of the final Kentucky Corners book, Bluegrass Christmas, which will be out the end of this year. Right on the heels of that I return to work on the sequel to my historical Masked by Moonlight, which will release in 2010. After that I hope to start a series of three contemporaries set in Charleston. Also this month I’ve be launching my new diversion, a travel-knitting blog called “DestiKNITions.”
What would be your dream vacation?
Well, DestiKNITions is actually quite a bit about that. I’m passionate about knitting, so I’ve started writing about my travels to discover knit shops and communities in American cities. Location research is my very favorite part of writing—I love to interview people, go to their favorite restaurants, etc—and DestiKNITions is just an extension of that process from book research into all the beauty of fiber arts. The blog launches this month with a segment of Charleston. I don’t need to travel far—it’s the people and places that most delight me—but if someone handed me a cruise around the world with a credit card and a crate to ship back all the yarn I didn’t knit in transit, well I’d grab at it with both hands!
Actually, right now I'm knitting lap robes for the prayer ministry at church. How do you choose your settings for each book?
It’s nothing more scientific that “where do I want to go next?” Charleston and Baltimore are my next planned locales. Charleston has always been recommended as a beautiful city, and I’d not seen much of the Southeastern coast. Baltimore intrigues me because I think it has undiscovered charms and tenacity. It’s important to me to be able to visit the city where the book is set, so I doubt I’ll be doing any exotic or foreign locales in the near future (although you never know!).
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
The answer might surprise you. Believe it or not, I’d like most to meet Discovery Channel’s “The Mythbusters,” because my son and I so enjoy the show. I value meeting people who absolutely love what they do (I believe it’s highly contagious), and that gang looks like they have loads of fun. We’re huge fans. Anyone out there want to set this up for me?
Take me along, too. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Knitting, knitting, and knitting. Oh, and coffee. My husband is a very serious sportscar enthusiast, so I get a bit of that by association. Nissan Z Cars are a big deal to this household, and one finally gets in one of my books this year (watch for Mac’s roadster in Bluegrass Christmas).
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I think too much. I don’t trust the story enough to let itself unwind on its own, and I push and pull things that don’t need pushing or pulling. I end up trying too hard to be funny or clever or emotional, which never works. If I’d just relax, stay true to the story and characters, and remember that I always meet my deadlines, things would be so much easier. On everyone. Even the dog.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
There are no two ways about it: the only way to write is to apply fingers to keyboard. There’s no secret handshake, no shortcut, no special DNA, just the simple/complex truth of putting words down on the page. I tell aspiring writers to get to the first 100 pages—it will tell you loads about yourself and your story, and I don’t think you ever really know what you’ve got until you’re about 100 pages into it.
Tell us about the featured book.
Gladly! Bluegrass Courtship is the second Kentucky Corners book and is a fascinating collision of small town America and bit city media. Janet Bishop has run her family’s hardware store for years when renovation-reality television host Drew Dawson comes into town. I wanted to take the home-makeover craze and twist it to renovate churches. I also wanted to take someone who’d made his life in the high drama of that genre and dunk him in small town values. It made for a very fun story, and a cast of secondary characters that I simply adore.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
All kinds of Allie-related goodies—everything from the recipe for Snicker Bar Salad to audio files of me reading the first chapter of my most recent books to you--can be found at http://www.alliepleiter.com/.
Beginning this month, you’ll also find me at http://destiknitions.blogspot.com/ as well. Please visit!
Thank you, Allie, for spending this time with us.
Readers, you can order Bluegrass Courtship using this link:
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won.
Then check out Allie's web sites. Both sound intriguing.
I have a new blog this month. I've moved my monthly newsletter from my web page to this blog: http://lenanelsondooleynewsletter.blogspot.com
I did this because people wanted to sign up for my newsletter. Now they can using FeedBlitz. Check it out. My newsletter contains Announcements, my Calendar of Events, Book Reviews, and lists the upcoming interviews.