Every writer’s journey begins differently. When did you know that God had a plan for you to become an author?
My desire to write has always been a part of me, and I’ll never forget the Sunday when I saw a line in our church bulletin inviting anybody interested in forming a writing group. I knew I wanted to write, but I had no idea what I wanted to write. Then, at a writers conference, I won a copy of Lynn Austen’s Daughters of Eve. I’d never read any Christian fiction since Christy in 7th grade, and the minute I lost myself in that story, I knew that was my calling. Before that, I’d never pictured myself as a novelist. God spoke to me through that book so, so clearly. After that I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else.
If you didn’t have a fabulous career as an author, what would your dream job be and why?
Wow, I feel so overwhelmed with blessings to be able to do this, I can’t even imagine…but OK. I would actually love to be the ride operator at the Golden Age of Hollywood ride at Disney’s MGM Studios Theme Park.
How much of your own personal experiences do you write into your books?
I suppose that varies from book to book. I don’t bring a lot of actual experiences into my stories, but I will say that many of my personal fears and insecurities and weaknesses are spread throughout the pages. It is so much fun to infuse characters with the strength I too often lack. I will say, though, that several—if not most—of my supporting characters are lifted right out of my life. If friends and family could see themselves through my eyes, they’d totally see themselves in the story. Luckily my mind is twisted just enough to grant some anonymity.
Tell us about today’s featured book.
All Camilla Deardon knows of the Mormons camping nearby is the songs she hears floating on the breeze. Then she meets one of them-a young man named Nathan Fox. Never did she imagine he would be so handsome, so charming, especially after Mama and Papa's warnings to stay away. Though she knows she should obey her parents, Camilla can't refuse her heart. But even Nathan's promises cannot prepare her for what she will face in Utah.
Your latest book is on the sensitive topic of polygamy. Is the subject of polygamy something that you ever thought you’d write about?
Honestly, it wasn’t even a bleep on my mental radar until my editors at Tyndale approached me with the idea. And, the moment they did, the character of Nathan Fox came to me—fully formed. I knew, too, that this needed to be a love story, with polygamy being the tragic element, not the focus. I didn’t want the polygamy storyline to overshadow Camilla’s spiritual journey. Theirs is a marriage that gets blindsided and invaded by an enemy in the form of false teaching. But, really, any marriage today is just as vulnerable to such destruction.
Diane Noble is another Christian author who has recently written a novel on this same topic. Do you think Christian novels that tell stories about polygamy are a new genre that’s on the horizon?
The whole idea of plural marriage is so dark and bizarre and fascinating. It’s everywhere now, isn’t it? Amazing how, in just over a year, we all looked on in horror at the FLDS sect, shaking our heads and thinking Those poor, poor women. And now HBO has its series Big Love and TLC has a polygamous reality show, and we’ve taken on this odd voyeuristic stand. It’s a tough issue to tackle without buying into the titillating scandalous nature of it, so if polygamy itself is the center of the story, then I think we need to be cautious. My objective is to create compelling, interesting characters who happen to live in a time and place where this practice is tolerated. My series centers on one family. Now, the rise of the Mormon church is a fascinating time in our nation’s history, and for that I’d like to see it explored, but polygamy itself was practiced by a very small percentage of Mormons. To saturate the market with these stories, I think, would misrepresent its prevalence and glamorize it beyond what it deserves.
I felt so proud of Camilla when she began to discover the differences between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Why did the Mormon leaders in your book place so little emphasis on the Bible, and even go so far as to say parts of it were untrue?
That goes back to their belief in the testimony of Joseph Smith. In his revelation, Joseph Smith was told that the Holy Scriptures were incomplete, and he was given a new testament of Jesus Christ. They believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and even that his death was done to atone sin, but they hold that the ensuing generations did not establish the church he intended, and Joseph Smith was chosen to establish that church. Mormons believe the Bible is true, but some verses were either interpreted/translated incorrectly, or that their meaning has changed in light of this new revelation. While Christians know the Word of God to be timeless in the fact that it is unchanging, Mormons believe that God’s word changes with a constant influx of new prophecy.
Readers have to wait until next year to see the Camilla’s story continue (personally, I don’t know how I’ll be able to stand it). Are you able to give a sneak peek at what book 2, Forsaking All Others, will be about?
In deference to those who might not have read For Time and Eternity (yet…), I’ll say that the second book calls for Camilla to face the consequences of her choices in the first book. One new element introduced, however, is the presence of the United States Army, as our government was very much poised to wage war with the Mormons in light of Brigham Young’s established theocracy. See? That’s the interesting history I mentioned earlier.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your novels?
My greatest hope is a simple one: I hope they enjoyed the story. And, I always try to structure my stories so that, even after “The End,” there’s just a tad bit more left to tell. I like to imagine my readers crafting their own epilogues.
Where can readers find you on the web?
They can go to my website, http://www.allisonpittman.com/. And, I’m a huge facebook junkie. I’d love to have them “Like” my Allison Pittman Author Page.
Allison, thank you so much for chatting with me today! It’s been such an honor, and I hope you’ll stop by again in the future!
Now, for the big surprise!
I have one copy of For Time and Eternity to give to one special person. If you'd like to be signed up to win, please leave a comment with your email address to enter. If you do not leave your email address, your comment will not be counted. The giveaway starts today and goes through Friday, October, 15th.
Here's a few ways you can earn extra entries!
+1 - Be a follower of my blog or become one.
+2 - Grab my button code for your blog.
+3 - Post about this giveaway on your blog.
+4 - Head over to Allison's website (link is up there in the interview), and tell me which of her books you'd love to read, if you haven't already. *grin*
Please leave one comment per entry including any and all extra entries...much easier for me to keep up with! :o)
Giveaway open to US residents only. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning are based upon number of entrants.