Bio: An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, doing laundry, running carpools, and finding new ways to avoid housework. She grew up in Connecticut, holds a BS in Speech from Northwestern University, spent fifteen years in the field of professional fundraising, and currently lives in suburban Chicago, Illinois. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing nine years ago has given rise to a career spanning two parenting books, six novels including the multi-nominated MY SO-CALLED LOVE LIFE, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing.
Welcome, Allie. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
Actually, despite being a huge plan-maker, I try never to look at the horizon book-wise. I’m always in awe of those authors who can see dozens of books into their future--I only seem to get mine one at a time. I crafted one trilogy by forcing myself, what became the Kentucky Corners series, but that felt like pulling my creative teeth. I’m hoping to begin a series in Charleston, SC because I’ve loved my past visit there, but that’s still way off.
Tell us a little about your family.
They deserve Olympic medals in the perseverance and put-up-with-the-crazy-lady-behind-the-laptop events. I have two teenagers (13 and 17), the world’s best husband, and the world’s most beloved dog.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
We’re a very book-oriented family, and always have been avid readers. I’m always reading three books--one fiction, one non-fiction, and one audiobook. For fiction, I’ve been reading PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES (very funny), I’ve been pouring over San Francisco 1906 earthquake books (very instructional) for my non-fiction as I work on HIDDEN BY DAWN, the sequel to MASKED BY MOONLIGHT that will come out sometime next year; and my audiobook is THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA (very thought-provoking). Eclectic, don’t you think?
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on BLUEGRASS EASTER, a novella due out next February. It’s one more story based in Middleburg, the fictional town of all my "Kentucky Corners" series. After that, I’ll dig into figuring out what those Charleston books might be about. The next book I’ll have out is BLUEGRASS CHRISTMAS for the holiday season.
What outside interests do you have?
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to knit. I even have a knitting blog where I can gab about my passions for the hobby, DestiKNITions. I run my church’s prayer shawl ministry, where we knit and pray over beautiful shawls to be given to those in need of comfort and healing. I knit all the time, and I do mean all the time.
I love to knit, too, but mostly not in the summer. Only if they are small things. It's too hot in Texas to have a large knitted thing in your lap How do you choose your settings for each book?
I’d love to say there’s some great formula to it, but it’s mostly "where do I want to go next?" It’s important for me to visit the cities my books are set in, because the location research is great fun for me and one of my favorite parts of the process.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
I’d spend it with Eleanor Roosevelt. She seems to incredibly wise and strong.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
How to write them (ha!)? Actually, I wish I’d known it would never get easier, but then I might never have started. I keep waiting for the point where I’ll feel sure of my skills and career, and even after a dozen books it hasn’t appeared. I don’t think it’s showing up any time soon.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
That I am right where I’m supposed to be. Just this morning I was reading the passages in Daniel where it talks about how God does as He pleases and no one can hold back His hand. That’s a sovereignty I can trust, even when it doesn’t look like it.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
2) Learn your craft but don’t let yourself get tangled up in it.
3) Craft is good but storytelling is what matters most. We must be tellers of compelling stories above all else. I can forgive mediocre writing from a fabulous storyteller, but even sumptuous prose won’t hold me if the story doesn’t catch my heart. And, as far as I can tell, writing is the only way to learn to write. There are no shortcuts.
Tell us about the featured book.
BLUEGRASS BLESSINGS is one of the deepest stories I’ve told in the Kentucky Corners series. Stakes are really high for both characters, and the emotional level is life-changing for these two people God has really taken to the edge. Dinah, Middleburg’s baker, is a wild, artistic woman after my own heart--so of course I needed to give her a tightly wound New York City broker to fall for....I just love "opposites attract" stories!
Back cover copy:
Everyone in Middleburg, Kentucky lines up for baker Dinah Hopkins’s cinnamon rolls. Everyone except her handsome new landlord, Cameron Rollings. The jaded city man doesn’t like anything about small-town life--from the fresh air to her fresh-baked snickerdoodles. And he clearly considers Dinah as quirky as her eccentric oven. The way to Cameron’s heart is not through his toned stomach. But the Lord led him to Kentucky Corners for a reason. And Dinah plans to help him count his bluegrass blessings.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
You can visit my website at http://www.alliepleiter.com/, and my knitting blog at http://www.destiknitions.blogspot.com/.
Thank you, Allie, for coming back to talk with us.
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