Monday, 17 December 2012

Interview with Alison Stone

Author Alison Stone is with us today to talk about her novel TOO CLOSE TO HOME. She lives in New York and is represented by Jenn Schober of Spencerhill Associates.
Welcome, Alison. How long have you been writing?

I first got the idea to write soon after my oldest was born. He'll be seventeen in January! However, in my defense, I started writing for the children's market and local publications before I finally got the never to try my hand at novel-length fiction. In the seventeen years since, I've produced three more children and many more manuscripts. :)

Tell us about TOO CLOSE TO HOME. What’s the story about?

I think the easiest way to tell you about TOO CLOSE TO HOME is to share the blurb:

They say you can never go home. If you do, better watch your back.
Ten years ago, after her father’s gruesome death was ruled a suicide, Kathryn McNabb left her hometown, vowing never to return. And never to let anything—business or personal—break her heart.

Now an overachieving manufacturing engineer, she thrives on order, control and solitude. But an unexpected inheritance makes her the co-owner of the company her father founded, forcing her to face the ghosts of her past. Including Ben Nowak, childhood friend, secret crush, and son of the man who ruined her father.

Ben hadn’t planned on returning home either, but with his own father’s death it falls to him to continue the family legacy. When he learns Kathryn plans to sell the plant out from under him, his quest takes on new urgency—Midport Industries is the main source of jobs in town.

Butting heads strike sparks of attraction that entangle business and pleasure into a hopeless knot. And someone is watching. Someone with a darker reason to prevent the deal from going through. Someone desperate enough to kill…

How did the idea of the story come to you?

Great question. In my former life, I was a manufacturing engineer for an automotive parts supplier. One day, a worker on the plant floor told me that someone had drown in one of the tanks because of a drug deal gone bad. I have no idea if he was pulling my leg or not, but the idea stuck with me. TOO CLOSE TO HOME is centered around a manufacturing facility in a small town. The heroine soon learns something beyond manufacturing is going on in the plant. This was a fun story to write because I was able to draw on my experience as an engineer. (I promise I left out the boring parts!)

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I have a few close writer friends who read my work and give me feedback. I love having "fresh eyes" look at my manuscript before I submit. I am often too close to the story to see if it all gels.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

One would think I was a complete planner considering my training as an engineer, however I tend to do a little of both. I have an idea and a few plot points and I go from there. This leads to A LOT of rewriting. I am trying to learn to plan more and save myself time (and frustration.)

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Honestly, it's the sitting down and doing it. I will find ten other things I'd rather do--laundry, errands, dishes, etc--before I will sit down. Once I sit down and open the file, I get right into the story. Now why don't I just do that to begin with? Procrastination is not my friend.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Either coffee or tea. I usually have one cup of coffee to kick-start my day, then I drink tea for the rest of the day.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Is curing cancer a super power? Probably not, huh? In that case, I'd love to be able to fly. I hate to fly in planes, so maybe being able to fly on my own would be a useful power.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

I can't think of anything really weird, but whenever I think of the inherent "danger" of googling, I think of a local sporting goods store in town. It's called Dick's Sporting Goods. (You probably know where I'm going with this!) A few years back I googled "Dicks" and yeah, I got an eyeful. Now whenever I use Google, I make sure I'm more specific in my search phrases. Seriously, what did I expect?

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: porch, bursting, and imagination.

Bursting with nervous energy, I tried to rein in my imagination as the porch step creaked under my weight. :D

Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...

...driving my kids all over town.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

Writing can be a roller coaster ride. I am very fortunate to have Jenn Scober, my agent, in my corner. She took me on as a client nearly five years before I sold. We came close more than once--but close only counts in horseshoes, right? I am so grateful she stuck with me and encouraged me until we got "The Call." In less than 13 months, we sold 3 books. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is just the beginning. And I'm grateful to the editors at Samhain and Harlequin who took a chance on my books.

I also have the best family. My hubby supports my writing career 100% and my kids cheer me on every step of the way.

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

A current list of my books can be found on my website: I'm also on Twitter at @Alison_Stone or Facebook at
Too Close to Home is available at the following online locations:
Samhain Publishing:
Barnes and Noble:

It's also available at many other fine eBook retailers.

One more thing before I go. I enjoy to give books as gifts during the holidays. Leave me a comment telling me what gift you enjoy giving and/or tell me about the best gift you've ever received. One lucky person (selected at random) will win an eBook copy of Too Close to Home from Samhain, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. (Winner's choice)

Thanks for chatting with us today, Alison. It was great getting to know more about you and your book.

Thanks so much, Dorothy, for having me as a guest.


Alison Stone said...

Thanks for hosting me, Dorothy.

_ said...

To think of an engineer writing love stories. <g Teasing. Congratulations and best wishes,
Emma Lane

Alison Stone said...

Thanks, Emma. :)

Darryl said...

Story sounds interesting! should read.

Jamie said...

Interesting. Story about a manufacturing engineer. Thanks for the nice story, will read it for sure.

Alison Stone said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by. Darryl has won the free eBook copy of Too Close to Home. Please contact me at Alison @ to claim your prize.