Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Guest Author: Allie Pleiter


I love the colors on Allie Pleiter's next Steeple Hill Love Inspired novel! Today she's dropping by to share a bit about her book and her own story of writing and coping when life sends you a whole list of troubles. Here's a blurb for her new book:

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.

And now, a peek behind the scenes of this author's writing life:

The Baker's Back-Up Tools

Chicago has had day after day of cool, dreary rain this summer, and I’m astounded how the weather affects my mood. Now granted, I’ve had a bunch of challenges eating away at my good mood lately, but I’m amazed how the rain destroys my endurance and patience. On a sunny day, I can be the cheeriest of optimists. Douse me for a week straight, and not so much.

Ticking off errands isn’t that difficult, even in a bad mood. A trip to the grocery store can always include a Lindt chocolate bar (yesterday’s adaptation). Writing, however, seems so very hard when I’m feeling weary. Creativity always seems to take more energy than productivity, doesn’t it?

What’s a girl on a deadline to do?

I’ll share a secret that I learned my first year as an author. Two weeks before my first manuscript re-write was due, my mother died unexpectedly. This, as you can well imagine, destroyed my creativity for weeks if not months. I was running on emotional empty, but I still had to “make art.”

I learned (and honestly, I can’t recall where) that the trick to these situations is containment. To trick my brain into thinking my problems weren’t beyond my capacity. They probably were, but obsessing about a crunch I couldn’t change proved useless. So I sat down—probably with a very large, very hot cup of coffee—and wrote EVERYTHING down. Everything I had to do (which was a whole lot, believe me). I’m pretty sure it took six or seven of those yellow legal pad pages. That seems counterproductive, but once you get it all on paper, you feel like you’ve contained it. You can see the edges this way.

Step two was to find an index card and pick five things—and ONLY five things—I could manage. Again, I gave myself edges I could see. I couldn’t contemplate all my problems, but I could stomach the thought of living through five. I wouldn’t look at the giant yellow pad again until my little white card of five tasks was done. Some days I could master a card in a day. Other times it took me a week to make it though one card. But each completed card gave me confidence, a sense of achievement, and a toehold against the storm of stuff that threatened to overtake me if I gave it the chance.

Dinah, my heroine in BLUEGRASS BLESSINGS, gets to learn from my experience. You’ll recognize the cards and the list as they make their appearance later in the book. That’s because Dinah’s a baker, a high-sensory gal like me. And, like me, she’s got a whopping load of stuff to do and not a lot of good mood to go around.

Prayer is essential, but a yellow legal pad and a stack of index cards aren’t a bad back-up, too!


Enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. An avid knitter, harp player, and non-reformed chocoholic, she spends her days writing books, doing laundry, running carpools, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie grew up in Connecticut, holds a BS in Speech from Northwestern University, and currently lives in suburban Chicago, Illinois. The "dare from a friend" to begin writing eight years ago has blossomed into a career that includes numerous public speaking engagements, two books on parenting; BECOMING A CHIEF HOME OFFICER and FACING EVERY MOM'S FEARS, and now novels for Steeple Hill. She is the mother of two children and, most recently, a Havanese dog named Bella. Find Allie at her website.

BLUEGRASS BLESSINGS releases July 1st! Can't wait to read it. Allie's writing voice is fresh, fun and so enjoyable. (as you saw in her blurb and article above) Her coffee-focused, Seattle-based story "The Perfect Blend" is written first-person and reads fast. I love her writing! And just for fun, if you peek at "A Perfect Blend," you may see a name you recognize from this blog in the acknowledgments. Fun! A first.

Thanks for dropping by today, Allie. We wish you the best!

4 comments:

Allie Pleiter said...

Thanks for the visit! I love my covers for the Kentucky Corners series, too.

Carmen7351 said...

If this is as good as Bluegrass Courtship, I'm interested in reading it. Allie, you really have an insight into people's feelings.

Annette M. Irby said...

Hey Allie, thanks for dropping by! I'm reading The Perfect Blend. Love your voice. Don't cha just love first person/present tense?!

Annette

Allie Pleiter said...

Carmen, thanks for the kind words. I'm very excited about this one and yes, I think it's just as good as Bluegrass Courtship (although I'm hardly objective!!). I do wish I'd had the opportunity to write more first person books than MY SO-CALLED LOVE LIFE and THE PERFECT BLEND Annette, but not so far. It's such a natural voice for me, opinionated gal that I am. I work hard to get that kind of energy into my third person novels, and most people who've read both say it's worked.