I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, August 16, 2010

Welcome Multi-published Author Allison Pittman

Hi, I'm Roxanne Sherwood and I've invited Allison Pittman to visit today. Allison has published six novels and one nonfiction book, Saturdays with Stella: How My Dog Taught Me to Sit, Stay, and Come When God Calls. Her first novel, Ten Thousand Charms, was nominated for two RITAs, and another, Stealing Home, is a finalist in ACFW's Carol Award. A former English teacher, Pittman lives in Texas with her husband and three sons.

Your latest book, For Time and Eternity, will be released September 1st. What inspired the story?~~
I actually had no intentions of pursuing this topic in fiction, but then one day I got an email from the lovely people at Tyndale. They were interested in finding a writer to venture into the Mormon’s story, and I immediately just got chills. You see, I was raised in Utah, and my husband is an ex-communicated Mormon, so I was instantly intrigued. Within minutes, the character of Nathan Fox was fully formed in my head, and I couldn’t reply fast enough. My first instinct was to portray the early Latter-Day Saints as a people desperately seeking God. It’s never been my intention to “take on” the Mormon church, or even to vilify the practice of polygamy. As with all my books, I want to tell a good story. I simply wanted to portray a loving couple torn apart by the church and its early doctrine of plural marriage.

I loved For Time and Eternity and I'm excited that Camilla and Nathan's story continues in Forsaking All Others.~~Me, too! The story arc for Camilla—to restore her faith and her family—was simply too immense to tell in one book.

What do you have planned for the Sister Wife Series?~~
The second book will, of course, continue Camilla’s story. Beyond that, I know I want to tell Rachel’s story. She is Nathan Fox’s twin sister, and I’ll probably bring the reader back to their childhood, living as orphans in St. Louis, Missouri. I’d also like to explore the experiences of the European immigrants who came to this country specifically as members of the church.

How did you conduct your research for For Time and Eternity?~~
I actually did quite a bit of reading of The Book of Mormon and The Doctrine and the Covenants—the LDS sacred texts. I also indulged myself in a 4-day solo trip to Salt Lake City’s Temple Square, where I strolled through museum after museum, taking in all the tid-bits of the pioneers’ every-day lives. That was such an indulgence, really. I left with my notebook full of scribbles, and my heart heavy for the globalization of their false doctrine. It makes me sad that, by and large, Christians don’t seem to be able to be motivated to the level of dedication that the Mormons have achieved.

Your rich, well-developed characters compel your readers to keep turning pages to find out what happens next. Do you develop characters or plot first?~~
Characters first. Always. In For Time and Eternity, I knew my “husband” would be a good, sincere, loving man who desperately wants to please God. As an orphan, he grew up feeling like he had no value, and the teaching of Joseph Smith would give him that validation. That foundation fuels the plot; truthfully, “Nathans” exist today. But, I think it’s a million times more interesting to have a character who could live in any time period than a story that could be lived by any character.

How long did you write before you sold your first book, Ten Thousand Charms, which was published in 2006 and nominated for two RITA's?~~
Well, that totally depends on your definition of “write.” Charms was my first attempt at writing a novel (no drawer full of unfinished manuscripts for me!). I worked on it on and off for about three years—sadly, much of it was written after I had an editor interested in buying it. I’m not a very driven person, so God really had to pave an easy road for me. One or two rejections, and I would have been done!

You've got a husband, three sons at home, a part-time teaching job at a university, a critique service, and various ministries within your church. How do you do it all?~~
I always have one element dormant at all times. And, yes, sometimes the element that gets shoved to the side is the family. Some would say that’s terrible, but it’s necessary. My boys have learned that any request made during deadline time will be immediately deferred to Dad. Hubby just knows not to make requests! I only teach during the fall, I’ve learned to be strong and smart about my church work, and I give myself a good (one or two week) break after each deadline.

What advice do you have for aspiring novelists? Or what do you wish you'd known before you sold?~~
Be ready to be both overwhelmed and underwhelmed. The work to promote this book will probably be just as consuming as effort it took to write it. You’re going to invest a fortune in postage and slather your blog and facebook and website with your up-coming book signing, and the same eleven people who would have bought copies from the box in your van in the church parking lot are going to show up. If you put your heart in the hands of the publishing world and the readers, it’s going to get broken. You’ll have a fantastic idea rejected, you’ll get a lousy review, your royalty statement might just as well be a series of frowny-faced emoticons. But, trust your heart to the Lord who has called you to this work, thank Him for the gift that allows you to pursue it, and pour your love into the characters on your page and, to paraphrase: “Oh, bad review, where is thy victory? Oh sales, where is thy sting?”

I'm going to paste those last words above my computer. Thanks for your wisdom, Allison. It was great to have you visit.

~Roxanne Sherwood

P. S. Don't forget to check out our contest tab - you can win the PJ Sugar Series by Susan May Warren!


  1. It's always fun to read about another author's writing journey! Allison is delightful--I had the chance to meet her in person, thanks to Roxanne. Can't wait to read her latest book.
    Thanks for visiting the blog, Allison!

  2. Great idea to bring Allison to the blog, Roxanne.

    I was so excited about reading your blog, I sort of ignored my puppy, who proceeded to sort of ignore the "we do our business outside in this family" rule. I was that enthralled about Allison's book series.

    Can't wait to go find them in my bookstore!

  3. Great interview! I love to read about the writer's journey - mainly because I hope to be able to pass that along myself someday. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for joining us today, Allison! I think I'll follow Roxanne's example and paste the paraphrase by my desk.

  5. Great interview, Roxanne! Thanks so much for joining us, Allison. I am so intrigued by the sound of your Mormon books and will add them to my must-read-soon list. Thanks for taking the time to answer Roxanne's questions and share with us!

    Amy, your "we do you business outside in this family" rule made me laugh...please say it's only the puppy who has to follow this rule! :)

  6. I really enjoyed this interview! Thanks, Roxanne and Allison. I'm intrigued by Allison's novel. This statment gave me chills: It makes me sad that, by and large, Christians don’t seem to be able to be motivated to the level of dedication that the Mormons have achieved.

    Why are we so complacent?

  7. I sure enjoyed this post! It is always refreshing and inspiring to me to see the stories that God puts in the hearts of His creation. I appreciated all that Allison shared, and I'll be on the look out for her novels. :) Thanks for sharing!

  8. Great post. Thank you Allison for visiting the Ponderers! I look forward to reading your book.

  9. Very interesting post, lots to ponder. I'll have to watch for Allison's books, and good questions, Roxanne. As soon as our MN Chris. Writers Guild resumes in Sept. I'll cordially invite those members to follow our blog.

  10. Thank you so much for hosting me, and as often as possible, I like to ask my brothers and sisters in Christ to lift up this book in prayer!

    And...it's such a treat to share my story! I'll check back if anybody has more questions...

  11. Roxanne-great interview. I too LOVED this book! Couldn't put it down.

    Allison-you're such a great writer & teacher. I've learned so much from you! And be prepared with a stack of books...I'll be buying 3-4 at least in September!!!

  12. Allison, so glad you could join us!

    Glad to see everyone here. For those of you who haven't read Allison's books yet, you're in for a treat! She's a great storyteller with fabulous characters. You won't be disappointed, I promise.

    Lisa, I agree. It's tragic that our grace becomes complacency.

    Melissa, you made me laugh out loud for catching Amy's faux paus. I read her statement as perfectly normal. Now, what does that say about my family?

  13. Roxanne and Allison~ thanks for sharing the books and the journey! It was fun and informative.

    Lisa~ I also agree and have often thought that we Christians should take a lesson from many other religions whose members are so incredibly dedicated.

    Roxanne, Melissa, and Amy~ I laughed out loud as well, and thought the same way as Melissa...that hopefully Amy and her hubby had indoor plumbing and were not afraid to use it!