Friday, June 17, 2016

Interview with Allison Whitmore, FORGET ME NOT


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Theodora “Teddi” Donovan and Calvin Wynne have always hated each other. They didn't have a choice after Teddi's bootlegger father killed Calvin's and left them both orphaned. The scandal has fueled gossip in quiet, quaint Brookhurst, New York, for over a decade. When a friendship develops between them as teenagers, they are ridiculed and shunned by the strict society that dictates life in their town. As they grow older, friendship turns into love, and Teddi and Calvin have to choose between their future and the specter of their past. Spanning continents and decades, Forget Me Not is a coming-of-age story about truth, self-reliance, and the freeing power of love. 

Do you have a favorite character?
I will always say Teddi, Calvin and Teddi’s sister, Liza. They are definitely my favorites.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Not in my novel writing, but my writing partner are currently adapting Forget Me Not into a TV pilot and at least two minor characters from the novel are getting major roles in the storyline. It’s changing it a lot. The story’s central focus, though still about the love story of Teddi and Calvin, will be on the town and its secrets. That simple change basically made the B story in the A story.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Not really. I did find two small presses to work with me, but I did not go for agents or big publishing houses. I think I just did not have the patience and wanted a hands-on experience. Never say never, though. I may try that route several years down the line. At this point, I am very happy and excited to be working with my new publisher, Captive Quill Press. We’ll be launching new editions of my books in the fall.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
The hunting process took me about six months. Yes, it was for my first novel.

What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
My current publisher has a lot of hands-on experience with authors. The president is an author herself and writes in the same genres that I do. She also has a lot of heart and motivation to do excellent things. I’m excited to be working with her.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?
I am between publishers, so Forget Me Not will spend the summer self-published until its relaunch this fall. My other book, The Lost Heir will not be available until its relaunch in the fall.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I gave her my ideas for a concept. She gave me some shots. We decided what would look nice. Then I gave her an idea of what I’d like to see and what I wanted to convey. She did the rest. I was much more involved with the cover for my other book than for Forget Me Not. Both were done by Amalia Chitulescu. She’s incredibly talented.

Do you belong to a critique group?
Have they helped improve your writing? I did have one when I was in graduate school. They helped a bit. I also have my writing partners, and we share our work. It’s very helpful.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
Both. I outline then let the story talk. It sometimes fits the outline; it sometimes does not. I’m more about sticking to character arc goals and them than anything else.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
My publishing company provided an editor. I also hired a proofreader before submitting to publishers.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
I haven’t done this yet. I will just be doing it for a few months this summer. But I will say that my journey is not that different than self-published authors. I am in the indie world with small press, so I am doing author take-overs and joining communities with other indie authors in order to help each other with promotion and such. It’s been a lot of fun.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
Twitter and Facebook are my primary platforms. I also have done book tours and other types of promotion.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Yes. It’s tough. I’m currently working on a pilot and a novella.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena? I’m probably not the best person to ask this. But I think I’d say ask for help or get a mentor.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Sadly, story is my life. I tend to love the movies and television, which is also driven by story. I think traveling is a lot of fun, too. Of course, I’m storytelling in my head while doing it, so there you go.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
I love both dogs and cats. Vanilla, thank you very much. Green tea. Text for the most part. Night.

What’s next for you?
Applying to a lot of fellowships and contests for screenwriting and finishing up my next book. It’s a YA fantasy novel about a girl who travels into a place called the Time Realm.



Book & Author Details:
Forget Me Not by Allison Whitmore
Publication date: September 14th 2015
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Theodora “Teddi” Donovan and Calvin Wynne have always hated each other. They didn’t have a choice after Teddi’s bootlegger father killed Calvin’s and left them both orphaned. The scandal has fueled gossip in quiet, quaint Brookhurst, New York, for over a decade. When a friendship develops between them as teenagers, they are ridiculed and shunned by the strict society that dictates life in their town. As they grow older, friendship turns into love, and Teddi and Calvin have to choose between their future and the scepter of their past. Spanning continents and decades, Forget Me Not is a coming-of-age story about truth, self-reliance, and the freeing power of love.

Purchase:
(The book changed publishers, so it was pulled from Amazon and will be re-listed shortly and found at that link!)

AUTHOR BIO:
Allison Whitmore started her first novel, Forget Me Not, one icy morning in her dorm room in Southampton, NY. After many years of teaching high school English, she came back to the novel to rewrite it. Allison comes from a family who loves history and enjoyed immersing herself in the research that brought Teddi and Calvin’s world to life. She lives in her hometown, Los Angeles, California. You can find her on Twitter @alli_whitmore and her website: allisonwhitmore.com.

Author Links:
 
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