Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friday & a GCC Tour

It's a glorious Friday. Why glorious, you ask? Well, mostly because Saturday is DARA (Dallas Area Romance Author)'s official Christmas breakfast/meeting, and if that's not fun enough my cp's and I are having a mini-party Friday night, complete with queso, crackers, cookies, brownies, wine and other goodies at the Homewood Suites we've reserved for the night. It will be a great time of talking shop, eating, drinking and sitting in the hot tub. Now, what, I ask you, can be wrong with that, huh?

I'm bringing you a GCC tour today for debut novel THE DEPARTMENT OF LOST & FOUND by Allison Winn Scotch. The buzz for this novel is huge, with all sorts of cool mags (Cosmo, to name one) and reviewers offering up great comments. This is definitely one I will be picking up.

Natalie Miller has just had the worst day of her life. But it didn’t start out that way. After all, she’s on her way to the top. She has a bright future ahead of her and is using her determination and smarts to get her—and the senator she works for—where they need to be, regardless of whom they step on along the way. Passing lukewarm bills to please the constituents and leaking stories to the press are mere checkmarks on Natalie’s to-do list. And that’s the way she likes it.

Until, on the very same day, her doctor gives her the shocking news that she has breast cancer and her boyfriend dumps her, leaving Natalie to question everything she knows.

So she decides to take on her cancer the way she does everything—with steely determination. But as she becomes a slave to the whims of chemo, her body forces her to take a time out. She gets a dog, becomes addicted to The Price is Right and, partly to spite her counselor’s idea to keep a journal, Natalie embarks on a mission. She is going to track down the Five Lost Loves of her Life and figure out what went wrong.

Unwittingly, Natalie’s personal challenge to see why good things come and go—and what responsibility she has in it all—forces her to look at her life in a new light. Everything comes under question—her relationship with a mother who drives her crazy, the friendships she could nurture more tenderly, and her knack for pushing away the very people who want to be there for her the most. There’s a wedding, a reunion with the Man Who Got away, and an encounter with Bob Barker himself that helps her face her fears and change her life.

As one character says, “It’s funny, isn’t it? How the thing that cancer changes the most isn’t your breasts or your hair or anything at all on the outside. What it changes is everything else instead.” And just as Natalie uses her bout with cancer to discover what is most important to her, this heartwarming debut will encourage readers to take stock of their own lives.


Your main character seems to have a lot in common with you. You’re both ambitious and stubborn. How is she/he different from you?

It’s so funny, writing fiction, how people assume that because you wrote a character, that you somehow must BE a character. Certainly, I identify with Natalie, my headstrong protagonist, and her voice and personality came easily to me. Her competitive streak and desire to win definitely resonated with me as well, and yes, while I’ve never been sick enough to worry about my mortality, I’ve also been in situations in my life in which I’ve wondered how on earth I would piece things back together, much like we all have. But that said, that’s probably where our common ground ends. Natalie has a mother who isn’t terribly warm, and since The Deparment's publication, I’ve always felt a wee bit sorry for my own mom because she is supportive and nurturing, and I’d never want anyone to assume that the character I created was based on my mother! Natalie also has a difficult time making the distinction between winning at all costs and winning for a purpose, and I’d like to think that I know the difference: I don’t delight in anyone else’s misfortune and believe that there’s room enough in the world for all of our success. This is something Natalie has to learn along the way. And she also discovers that the things that make life fruitful – friends, family, a confident sense of self – don’t automatically land in your lap, and that chasing down success rather than these aforementioned blessings won’t fulfill you. My life is rich in so many ways, and I’m lucky enough to appreciate the wonderful balance that I’ve achieved, whereas again, for Natalie, this is something she’s yet to learn.

I know you blog yourself over at Ask Allison. (Http:// Why do you blog and does it feed you or take energy from you?

Well, I started Ask Allison about a year and a half ago, partially as a promotional tool for my upcoming book release but also partially because I wanted to counter the Miss Snarks of the world and offer some insight into our industry from a writer’s perspective and a kind one at that. Don’t get me wrong: Miss Snark provided invaluable information to so, so many readers and writers, but I’m not a huge fan of dismissing people or making them feel like idiots. We all started out as newbies at some point, and man, I’ve certainly asked my fair share of beginner questions, so my blog hopefully informs and educates without belittling anyone. These days, I’m not just answering questions, I’m chatting about anything and everything related to writing and my life in general. And you know, it both feeds me and takes energy away, if that makes sense. The truth is that I’m super-busy and some days, I just don’t feel like blogging. I mean, on my list of things to do, that just falls completely off the paper. But then I realize that people are reading and learning and engaging in a dialogue (including myself), and that’s why I do it…and that’s the part that fills me up.

Tell us about how Natalie comes full-circle in the book and how it relates to your own life.

It’s funny: on the surface, The Department is a book about a young woman who gets cancer, but to me – and to many readers, so I’ve been told – it’s about much more than that – it’s about a young woman who is trying to figure out her life, what’s important, what’s not, what her purpose is, whom she loves…all of those big questions that so many of us wrestle with as we forge our way to adulthood. And certainly, as I was crafting Natalie’s story, a lot of my own experience rattled around in my mind. For example, Natalie decides, as part of her quest for self-awareness, to track down the five loves of her life and ask them what went wrong. And while, um yeah, I’ve never specifically tracked down my exes, I have thought long and hard about those relationships – sometimes I still do – and have tried to grow from those experiences and reflect on how they helped make me into who I am today. Additionally, Natalie unpeels her life, much like an onion, until she sheds all of the layers that protected her from who she really is and who she needs to become. And I think a lot of us can relate to that – I tried on several career hats until I found my groove as a writer – and I’d think, like Natalie in the book, that just because we make a wealth of mistakes, that this doesn’t mean that we can’t correct our course or be granted eventual happiness. That’s the beauty of life, and of, I hope, this book.

Scotch has contributed to American Baby, American Way, Cooking Light, Family Circle, Glamour, InStyle Weddings, Men’s Health, Parents, Prevention, Redbook, Self, Shape, Women’s Health and Woman’s Day, among others. She lives in New York with her husband and their son and daughter.


"A great way to kick off your summer reading. Editors' choice." – Redbook

"Smart and well-written.” - Marie Claire

"Too good to pass up. You'll laugh a lot (and cry just a little) as Natalie rebounds from the big C and reinvents her life." – Cosmopolitan

"Scotch handles the topic of cancer with humor and hope, never dipping into the maudlin. The changes and realizations that the characters make are profound and moving. An impressive debut." – Booklist

"A bonbon of a book." - Publishers Weekly


Visit Allison at her website, her blog, and buy the book!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

1 comment:

Jaye Wells said...

Have fun with the girls tonight. See you tomorrow!

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