As I begin porting posts from my old website, I’ll be sharing a few of the more popular ones here. Below is an interview with Best-Selling Author, Allison Winn Scotch, which I conducted on assignment for Writer’s Market. Originally published December 6, 2008.
Allison Winn Scotch, the New York Times Best-selling author of Time of My Life and of The Department of Lost and Found, had the chance not long ago to read through some of her earliest writing. “My parents moved recently and packed up my childhood room. There were some diaries that I don’t remember keeping, but they had really fostered this love of writing,” she says from her home office in New York.
Winn Scotch tells me she is hard at work on her third novel which she sold on a pitch, an enviable perk of her successful writing career. And, while her first New York Times best-selling title was a huge success, she says it took a lot of varied experiences in her career to get her ready to write The Department of Lost and Found. “I started writing fiction at twenty-eight,” she says. “I started a manuscript and got stymied. I didn’t know how to finish it, didn’t know what I was doing. A year later, I finally finished it and got an agent, but it didn’t sell.”
She pauses, then, to talk a bit about her writing life before books. A graduate of Penn State, she began her career with a public relations firm, pursued a career in acting – landing a few shows and acquiring a SAG card along the way. “I was out in L.A. auditioning when a friend called me. She was beginning this start-up, so I helped her launch itsybits, which catered to petite women. I started writing for the online magazine that went along with the website.”
One thing led to another, and soon Winn Scotch found herself ghost-writing for celebrities. With a ghost-written title under her belt, she set her sights on the magazine industry, where a litany of magazine articles in such heavyweights as Family Circle, Cooking Light, and Glamour kept her busy. “I don’t do much freelancing anymore,” says Winn Scotch. “I still do some celebrity stuff, but I make my income from being an author.”
Winn Scotch, now married and the mother of two young children, says that her best advice for aspiring writers is to “… trust your instincts, but only to a point. Sometimes authors think what they’ve written is really, really good. They don’t let it sit long enough to be objective. The accomplishment is not in finishing the book; that doesn’t mean it’s done.”
Winn Scotch also maintains a popular blog she created to help take some of the mystery out of the business end of writing, Ask Allison.
Update: Winn Scotch has gone one to publish two new books since this interview: The One That I Want and The Song Remains The Same.