Shesaid Interview with author Allison Winn Scotch about her new book “the one I want”
1. Can you tell our readers what your book is about?
Tilly Farmer is thirty-two years old and has the perfect life she always dreamed of: married to her high school sweetheart, working as a school guidance counselor, trying for a baby. Perfect.
But one sweltering afternoon at the local fair, everything changes. Tilly wanders into a fortune teller’s tent and meets an old childhood friend, who offers her more than just a reading. “I’m giving you the gift of clarity,” her friend says. “It’s what I always thought you needed.”
And soon enough, Tilly starts seeing things: her alcoholic father relapsing, staggering out of a bar with his car keys in hand; her husband uprooting their happy, stable life, a packed U-Haul in their driveway. And even more disturbing, these visions start coming true. Suddenly Tilly’s perfect life, so meticulously mapped out, seems to be crumbling around her.
And as she furiously races to keep up with – and hopefully change – her destiny, she faces the question: Which life does she want? The one she’s carefully nursed for decades, or the one she never considered possible?
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned – from a writer’s perspective – that sometimes, you just have to show up and put the work in, even if it’s not enjoyable. This book was a hard one for me to write, but I proved to myself that I had it in me to keep going even when I didn’t want to. And then also, from a content perspective, I enjoyed watching Tilly’s evolution, and think that I reminded myself how important it is to have dreams and aspirations and to take little steps toward them every chance you have. It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of your life without really moving forward, but it’s so imperative to take those steps.
2. Tilly grew during the novel, did you enjoy changing her journey?
I did – a lot! I had a hard time understanding who Tilly was initially, but once she got a little bit of fire in her belly, I really grew to like her – and admired the choices she made and the courage those choices required of her. It sounds strange to say, but I was proud of who she was by the end of the novel, and I think that’s the entire point of her journey.
3. If you had the gift of clarity, would you try and change the future?
Well, I don’t know if I’d want to have the gift of clarity, but certainly, if I saw something I didn’t like, I absolutely would try to change it, even though I realize that this could be considered tempting and changing fate. But who wouldn’t at least want to try to ensure that life went the best possible way for herself? I’d do everything I could to turn the wheel in my favor.
4. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Oh gosh, great question! I don’t know if I have a mentor, exactly, but I have a lot of good writer friends who I’ve learned A LOT from. These days, I chat a lot with Laura Dave, Leah Stewart, Julie Buxbaum and Jonathan Tropper – among many others – all of whom I was fans of before we became friends. I admire their books AND who they are as people, and their generosity of spirit. I’ve asked all of them for advice or help in one manner or another, and I try to reciprocate when I can!
5. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in the book?
Wow, I haven’t thought about that! Well, I’ll always find sentences that make me cringe but that’s just part of the process – feeling like you could edit a book until the end of time. But to be honest, I redrafted this book SO many times that I don’t know what else I could do to change it. I might make a few tweaks to my earlier books, to be honest, but this one, I just don’t know what else I’d add in. But talk to me in a year – maybe my answer will be different.
6. What is the message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
To dream big. Even if means that you start small. And that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself. Life is long – don’t let a rut suck you in.