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Friday, August 08, 2008

Spotlight on Allie Pleiter and Bluegrass Hero

Today's spotlight author treated me to a tall cup of Spiced Chai Tea from Starbucks last year in Dallas at the annual ACFW Conference. We had a nice little chat and shared a bit about our respective writing careers. She's got a great sense of humor too. I'm sure you're going to love her and her books as much as I do. Enjoy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, doing laundry, running carpools, and finding new ways to avoid housework. She grew up in Connecticut, holds a BS in Speech from Northwestern University, spent fifteen years in the field of professional fundraising, and currently lives in suburban Chicago, Illinois. The "dare from a friend" to begin writing nine years ago has given rise to a career spanning two parenting books, six novels including the multi-nominated MY SO-CALLED LOVE LIFE, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women's issues, and writing.

BLUEGRASS HERO
by Allie Pleiter
Published by Steeple Hill / Love Inspired

ABOUT THE BOOK

Dust-covered men who smell like horses are the norm at Gil Sorrent's farm. Until a trip to Emily Montague's bath shop changes their lives. Suddenly, Gil's lovelorn farmhands are sparkling clean and attracting women instead of working! So Gil barges into the shop, surprised to find Emily, his pretty polar opposite, selling soap by the truckloads. Suddenly everyone in town is not only cleaner—they're nicer. And when our bluegrass hero tries out the soap for himself, love-shy Emily better watch out!

Buy Your Copy of Bluegrass Hero Today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this book?

I wish I knew the answer that this question—it would save me a lot of writers' block heartache . The inspiration often comes out of nowhere in particular—a shred here, a shred there. I saw an ad in a magazine about artisan soap and thought, "I don't know anything at all about soap," and that was the first nugget. I had traveled to Kentucky to do a bookfair, and fell in love with the area. So I began looking for a charming little town and found Midway, Kentucky. When I pulled into town and saw a sign for "Midway Soapwerks," I pretty much gave in to the call to write this book. This is typical of my process—it's a mosaic of impulses that eventually collect themselves into a bigger picture.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

Wow, I have no idea. I suppose other people might see aspects of myself in my characters that I don't even see. Others might not see connections I make—it's a fascinating question. Emily and Gil are probably the characters least like myself that I've written yet. I tend to write optimistic extroverts, and both of them are wounded introverts for entirely different reasons. Gil was my first dark and brooding hero, and that was deliberate. I'd not done a character with his damaged emotions before, and I wanted to see what I could do with his personality and still keep the level of humor I'm known for in my books. So, the short answer to this is "not much, and that was the interesting part," if that makes any sense.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what he/she be and why?

Emily would be something classic and understated like Butter Pecan. She's a lover of all things vintage, a very soft woman who surrounds herself with soft and delicate things. Which makes for an interesting character, because she's actually had quite a hard life. I'm not even sure Gil has a sweet tooth...

4. What themes exist in Bluegrass Hero that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

I actually asked my editor this the other day. She said, and I agree, that I write characters who discover they are more than who they thought they were. I write about God showing us new strengths or new gifts. About transformation that leads to adventure and growth. I never plan the theme—it grows out of the book for me—but a friend of mine once said "you write the book you need to read," and I believe that to be true.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

The scene where Gil admits the darkest parts of his past to Emily was a challenge to write, because it is so crucial to the success of the book. That one went through several drafts to get the tone and the pain just right. My favorite scene is the one where Emily has Gil try to guess which scent she wears because it was so much fun to write and to let them gently admit their feelings for each other. That magic moment where you realize the other person feels the same way is always the most fun to create—it's like falling in love over and over, and that's wonderful.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

That's BLUEGRASS COURTSHIP, the next in the Kentucky Corners series. It will Janet's story, the hardware store owner you met in BLUEGRASS HERO. That book will release in February, followed by BLUEGRASS BLESSINGS, Dinah the bakery owner's story. I've had great fun building the town and characters of Middleburg, and am in no hurry to leave!

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Thank you, Allie, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Bluegrass Hero.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada only.

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9 comments:

Maureen said...

I enjoyed the interview very much. I too try to avoid housework when possible. Bluegrass Hero sounds like a book I would really enjoy reading.
mce1011[at]aol[dot]com

Cherie J said...

Ooh! This book is on my wishlist so I am definitely interested. Great spotlight!

cherierj(at)yahoo(dot)com

windycindy said...

Hello! This book sounds like a sweet love story. Thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Pamela J said...

Isn't it great to know that we also, not only book characters, grow and discover we are more than we thought? I'm positive the 'theme' in this book will make it come even more to life for anyone who reads it. Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks so much!!
Pam Williams
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

ChristyJan said...

This was a fun interview to read ~ BLUEGRASS HERO sounds like a great book! Please enter me.

hawkes (at) citlink.net

tetewa said...

Sounds good, include me in the draw! tWarner419@aol.com

Allie Pleiter said...

Allie here--thanks for all the kind words. I'm glad you're looking forward to reading my story. I do think the theme grows us as writers as well.

ladijo40 said...

I loved the interview. I also avoid housework when I can. This book sounds very interesting and I would love to get entered in the drawing for the book.

blessings,
Jo
ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

We have a winner from this drawing and that is:

MAUREEN

Congratulations! I've sent your mailing information to Allie so she can send out your book.

One other winner selected today. Check out Trish Perry to see if you've won.

As always, thanks for your continued support.