Friday, June 11, 2010

"The One that I Want:" book review....and more!

Allison Winn Scotch took her readers back in time with "Time of My Life," and now she sends them into the near future with "The One that I Want."

Tilly Farmer seems to have a comfortable and easygoing life. She's married to her high school sweetheart and trying for a baby. Her career as a guidance counselor allows her to plan proms and high school musicals, as well as help students achieve their dreams. Then she has an encounter with a childhood friend and starts seeing pieces of the future as a result. When those visions start coming true, Tilly's world starts to unravel, and she comes undone along with it.

I didn't know what to expect from "The One that I Want" just from reading the cover. I was originally thrown by the name Tilly, as the last time I heard the name was from one of my grandma's friends. However, "old lady" names have been making a comeback and I hear of a lot of little girls being named Sophie, Stella or Esther. Tilly isn't so far off! It ended up working really well with the character's personality and disposition.

There is so much I want to say about why and how much I liked this book. It was original, had a narrator with whom I was able to relate even if we were to have nothing in common, realistic dialogue and lots of candid and unexpected moments. The point of the story was for Tilly to experience clarity. Well, I experienced it right along with her, as it caused me to evaluate my own life. I love how she visits the concepts of maturity, revisiting the past and happiness. I also love how the town Tilly lives in is so small and suburban that it is easy to visualize and be able to understand in relation to the story.

The only thing I would have changed is the use of clich├ęs and what has come to be known as "psychobabble." Maybe because it sounded too close to the way I write or talk, but sometimes Tilly got almost too introspective and I wanted to tell her to take a break. (I've been told to do the same, so maybe Tilly and I are more alike than I thought!) Maybe it was just that she wanted to be a guidance counselor for herself.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story and have been recommending it to everyone I know. I am already anticipating Allison Winn Scotch's next book!

Now for the treats....Crystal Patriarche from BookSparks PR has offered to give away 3 copies of this book to go along with the review. As a result, I asked Allison if she'd like to do an interview and after her friendly response, I thought up some fun and thought provoking questions that I only hope she hasn't had to answer before. She returned them to me with some great answers, along with a few laughs.

Book/writing related:

1. Which authors do you aspire to be most like?

Gosh, I admire a lot of authors, to be honest, so it’s hard to pinpoint one, but a few who come to mind are Jonathan Tropper, Amanda Eyre Ward, Laura Dave, Nick Hornby. I admire authors who write really compelling reads without being too heavy-handed. Something that sucks me in but isn’t agonizingly slow.

2. What one piece of advice would you give to people who want to become authors?

I always say that aspiring authors need to listen to criticism and take their egos out of the equation. Too many folks – myself included– think that their early/first work is untouchable, when, in fact, it’s far from it. The only way to improve is to figure out where your weaknesses are, and in order to do that, you need to be open to constructive advice. I can sincerely say that if I hadn’t taken criticism early in my career, I never would have been published. Sometimes, you think you know what you’re doing when, in fact, you have no idea.

3. You set "Time..." and "The One..." in opposing locations of the country. Do you feel the setting had an effect on the direction in which you'd take each story?

Yes, definitely. I very intentionally moved out of NYC for this one. Partially because I wanted to write about the world outside New York – because it is big and vast and wide and it’s easy to get caught up in writing these NYC characters and forget about what else is out there – but partially because a savvy NYC gal wouldn’t have worked for this at all. I wanted to explore someone who had really put her dreams on hold and my past two characters were go-getters, whereas Tilly was a caretaker. It felt important to explore different geography for her.

4. How did you come up with the names for your characters?

Much like a parent does for her child. :) I think about who they are, who I expect them to be, and then I roll some ideas around. I’ve changed some names half-way through if they didn’t feel right. Tilly needed to have a fairly weightless, almost flighty name that maybe she could have outgrown at some point, and yet, that lightness is also what is best about her. (I’m certainly not disparaging the name! Only that this is what it conjured up when I thought of her.)

5. I know on CafeMom, you talked about some casting ideas for "Time...". If "The One..." were to be made into a movie, who would you cast in the main roles?

You know what’s strange? I really have no great ideas. Maybe someone like Amy Adams, the cute every day woman who can blend into the landscape and make people smile in the grocery store. An actress like that. Tyler would be your all-American guy like James Marsden and Eli would be a little lankier, a little messier, like John Krasinski. Darcy is a toughie – someone like Anne Hathaway in "Rachel Getting Married," but maybe a little rougher around the edges. Like I said...I haven’t figured it out!


1. What is your favorite musical?

Ooh, good question. I am a huge musical buff, and so I almost hate to give this generic answer, but for me, the music of Les Miserable is still moving to this day. I’m a fan of plenty of much more obscure musicals, but I simply will never fall out of love with On My Own...or, far that matter, just about every song from the show.

2. After your comment about the recent link I put on your Facebook page, I have to ask this....Who is your favorite American Idol winner or contestant?

Kelly Clarkson. :) The first and the best. That said, David Cook and Carrie Underwood are tied for second. I was just thinking the other day how remarkable it is how loaded my iPod is with someone who in some way was made by that show.

3. Tell me something funny that one of your kids said.

Just this past weekend, my husband was away, so I was on my own with the kids, and my five year old looked at me and said, “I’m not having kids when I grow up. They’re too much work.”

4. Do you have a theme song? If so, what is it?
Hee, like Ally McBeal? Not one specifically, but music is constantly playing the background of my life. For this book, I was obsessed with The Killers, so I’d say that as of late, it would be them. Read My Mind and Human were two biggies, and I still play them and love them.

5. Which of your book characters do you feel you can relate to the most?

I think there are pieces of me in all of them, though I relate the least to Tilly. She was hard for me to write because we didn’t share too many commonalities. I suppose, in that sense, I relate the most to Jillian from Time of My Life because we’re in the same stages – deep in the trenches and raising kids and trying to keep the reins on our lives in our 30s. But I still love Natalie too – she’s fierce and brave and smart, and I admire all of those things about her.

Thanks again to Crystal for offering up the books and to Allison for doing this interview.

Photography was a big focus in this story. To win one of the books, comment below about your favorite photo that has personal meaning to you.

For additional entries:
1. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower.
2. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.

Winners will be picked at random on Sunday, June 13th. Please leave your e-mail address in each comment, so I know where to find the winners. Good luck!


Staci said...

It's hard to pick a favorite photo, because each one brings back the memory of the time it was taken. This weekend, since it's my anniversary, it might be the one from our wedding of our first kiss as husband and wife.
Staelfi at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

If I had to pick a favorite photo, it would be one with my aunt as a child. She died when I was very young, but she inspired me to be a teacher, which I am today.


Jayne Pickard said...

My favourite photo has to absolutely be one taken of my girls, my grandson and my dad at Christmas. He passed away two weeks later and I treasure how happy and proud he looks to be holding his great grandson in his arms with his grandaughter's either side of him. I brought my girls up as a single mum and my dad was their father figure throughout their lives, they looked upon him as their mentor, their historian and much more than that.

Kat said...

My favourite photo is the one I received at Christmas a couple of years ago. It's a picture of my dad's parents, and my nanny was pregnant with my dad at the time. My grandpa passed away before I was born, and Nanny passed away when I was only a year old. I feel a very strong connection with Nanny, despite never having known her very well, which is why this picture is so special to me. I have it hanging in our livingroom so that I know she is watching over us.


Kat said...

I put a link on Facebook :)

Jessica said...

I have a lot of favorite photos because each one has a different memory. One of my favorites is one at my college graduation. This photo reminds me of all the hard work and dedication and that it was worth every second of it to do something that I love. Plus, I look so happy and so does my family.


Melissa Patafio said...

One of my favorite photos of all time is the one taken of my family and I on the day I graduated from ASU :)
I am the first person in my immediate family to have graduated from college and it was such a great day!
Posting on FB.
Sorry for the delay, I have had trouble with internet on and off for a few days now ;p

Melissa said...

I organized by entry order and used this tool to get random numbers:

The winners are Bonnie (entry on Facebook), Nancy (entry on Facebook) and Kathryn.

Congrats girls!

Thanks to all of you who participated! Please enter the new giveaway going on this week to win "Chocolate Wishes" by Trisha Ashley. She's been compared to Sophie Kinsella!

Link to the giveaway:

Pain SUX said...

My favorite photo is from last Christmas. Because of divorse, etc....this was the first time I had all five of my kids in the same picture at the same time.


BRN2SHOP9 said...

Her books are everywhere. I can't wait to read them!

Melissa said...

Sorry, this contest is closed now and winners have been picked.

For a new treat, enter this giveaway:

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite photos is of my mom when she was 4 and on the beach styling my grandmother's hair like only a 4 year old can. Years ago I told my mom I loved the photo and she got it for me last year and gave it to me for Christmas.
Kristendkirk AT