Today I have Allison Stone, author of Random Acts, visiting The Life and Lies! Check out the tour page for more tour stops.
Some people knew from childhood that they wanted to be a writer. I wasn’t one of them. Instead I earned a degree in engineering and then worked in Corporate America. Shortly after I had my first baby, I saw an ad in a women’s magazine about writing for children. I signed up for the course and started learning about creative writing. Eventually I shifted to writing romantic suspense novels.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
The idea for Random Acts came to me when I read an article in the local newspaper. A college student had been coerced into signing an agreement to serve as a drug informant in exchange for leniency with parking tickets. Parking tickets! The student had never been involved with drugs. I started doing research and learned this was not an uncommon practice in many communities and sometimes the results were fatal. If you’re interested in the topic, google “Rachel’s Law.”
3) How did you come up with the title?
Random Acts is a romantic suspense with a trace of inspiration. I wanted a title to reflect that. I hit on the expression Random Acts of Kindness, then cut off the “of kindness” because the villain in my book is far from kind.
4) What books or people influenced your writing?
Was it positive influence, or negative? My family has influenced me the most. When I wondered if I’d ever get published, my husband encouraged me. When I questioned all my hard work, I realized if nothing else, I was being a positive influence on my children. Sometimes you have to work hard to achieve your dreams.
5) How do you go about researching for your books?
I love Google. I read a lot of true crime and watch a lot of news stories. I also “graduated” from the citizens police academy. I shot a gun at the target range and participated in a police ride-along. I loved every minute of it, but I ‘m better suited for writing suspense than living it.
6) Did you base any of your characters on real people?
No characters were based on real people. The idea was born from a real situation, but everything was fictionalized. What do they say? “Ripped from the headlines.”
7) What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?
Now that my book has been released, I find it exciting that many of my friends are reading it. My daughter even got off the bus today to tell me her bus driver had downloaded it. I guess all those postcards I put under her windshield worked. (Just kidding.) She learned about my book through an article in the local paper.
The hardest part is the discipline it takes to actually sit down and write. I am the queen of procrastination. Come see me on Twitter @Alison_Stone and I’ll prove it to you.
8) Do you have any other books planned in the future?
Yes! Too Close to Home will be out August 7, 2012.
9) Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?
I was especially drawn to the hero’s daughter. Maybe it’s because I have a daughter her age. Or maybe it’s because Ava was instrumental in forcing Danielle and Patrick to get together.
I suppose I should say I dislike the villain, but I had so much fun writing him. What does that say about me?
10) What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?
I would encourage young writers to push aside their doubts. I wasted a lot of time doubting myself. I love the quote, “What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”(Robert Schuller) Work at something with enthusiasm and confidence. Know your efforts will pay off. Sometimes success won’t come in the ways you had hoped, but it will come. If nothing else, writing will strengthen your skills in whatever career path you chose to follow.
Just for fun:
1) What are your ten most favorite things?
My family, Florida, the ocean, my Kindle, Panera, sleeping, writing, reading, Once Upon A Time (TV show), and hanging by my pool in the summer.
2) What do you do when you’re not writing?
I volunteer at my children’s schools. This year I was the middle school yearbook chair. I love creating the yearbook with all the smiling faces. I am also a room mom at the elementary level. I teach religious education classes. I enjoy walking, reading, and watching television. As a mom of four children, I spend a lot of time getting them to activities and watching said activities.
3) Do you have any pets?
I don’t have any pets. I do have four children! :)
4) What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?
I go through phases. Right now, I really enjoy Panera’s chipotle chicken Panini sandwich with a Greek salad. Oh, now I’m hungry. I don’t really have a least favorite food.
5) Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?
I write at home because I like staying home in my comfy clothes. I have a desk in my office/TV room downstairs and another desk in an extra bedroom upstairs. We refer to them as mom’s upstairs office and mom’s downstairs office. But I find I mostly write with a laptop on the couch. Sometimes I move to the kitchen table or at night I work on my bed. I have to keep changing it up to find inspiration.
6) Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?
I don’t snack too much when I write because I don’t like schmutz on my keyboard. :) I do, however, always have a cup of tea by my side. Sometimes first thing in the morning I’ll have a café mocha or coffee with Nestle Coffee-Mate Peppermint Mocha creamer. Yum
7) If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?
I would love to live by the ocean. Anywhere by the ocean. I tell my husband all I need is a good book, a balcony and a view of the ocean.
8) What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject was math. My least favorite was social studies.
9) What book are you reading right now?
Breathe by Donna Alward. It is a wonderful reunion love story.
10) Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.
It’s funny, prior to selling Random Acts not many people would have guessed I was a writer. Even today when I stopped in the school to volunteer in the computer lab, the principal stopped me and said, “How does someone go from being an engineer to being a writer?” People are so surprised.
About the Book
Second chances can have a terrible sense of timing.
As a child, watching her mother always pick the wrong man left Danielle Carson wary of opening her heart to anyone—except Patrick Kingsley. But circumstances came between them and left Danielle with a broken heart. Now she buries the pain of what might have been by channeling all her energy into her career. When a family crisis brings her back to her hometown, she is forced to face the past—and the disturbing fact that her sister’s car accident was staged to mask a brutal beating.
A police officer and widower, Patrick guards his heart as fiercely as he guards his beloved daughter. Seeing Danielle again unexpectedly reignites their old flame, but no way will he introduce a woman into his daughter’s life. Certainly not one whose values on faith and family are so different from his own.
Despite their best intentions, they are drawn together—until Danielle learns Patrick had a hand in putting her sister in harm’s way. Her fragile trust is crushed, but Patrick is the only man who can help her stop the villain before everything they both love is destroyed. Faith, family…and their second chance at forever.
He bobbled her body, freeing his hand to grab the handle of the driver’s door. It opened with a groan. He loosened his jaw and let out a quiet breath. A dog barked in the not-too-far distance. An incessant bark, as if the animal sensed the girl’s plight.
His stomach tightened. His actions took on a renewed urgency. Swallowing hard, he maneuvered the girl’s body behind the wheel—no small feat, despite her small frame. Her lifeless body had a will of its own. Her head dipped toward the passenger’s side, physics demanding her body follow suit. His jaw clamped in frustration. He grabbed her shirt sleeve and yanked her back into position. With a flat palm, he pushed the door closed, careful not to make a sound this time. He reached through the open window to adjust her body one last time. Fastening her seatbelt would be counterproductive. He shook his head. Silly girl had only herself to blame. Ducking his head, he reached into the vehicle and stretched across the steering wheel to put the car in neutral.
With his plan coming together, he relaxed his shoulders and strolled to the rear of the vehicle. Some things were meant to be savored. He lifted a dusty boot to the plastic bumper.
The tires gained traction. The vehicle rolled forward. Arms crossed, he watched the vehicle pick up speed as it raced down the steep hill, heading toward the crop of trees at the bend in the road.
Just as he had planned.
Growing up, Alison Stone never imagined becoming a writer. She enjoyed math and science and ultimately earned a degree in engineering. Go Yellow Jackets!
After the birth of her second child, Alison left Corporate America for full-time motherhood. She credits an advertisement for writing children’s books for sparking her interest in writing. She never did complete a children’s book, but she did have success writing articles for local publications.
Finally, Alison got up the nerve to try her hand at full-length fiction. After completing a handful of manuscripts, she sold her first book to Samhain Publishing in 2011, followed a few weeks later by a second sale.
Now, Alison has the best of both worlds. From her home office in Western New York, she writes fast-paced romantic suspense while her four children are in school. It never fails to amaze her how soon the afternoon bus arrives.
Alison will be awarding autographed bookmarks at every stop, as well as a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. She will also give away a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to host with the most comments.
Comment here for a chance to win, and comment on all the other tour spots for more chances!