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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Write what you wish you’d known: An Interview with Allison Pittman

Your current book is about Martin Luther from his wife's viewpoint. Why did you choose that point of view?
I chose to write from Katharina’s point of view because Martin Luther’s story is so well known, or at least well documented. Her story isn’t. In fact, it was a bit of work to research, as the facts are few and far between. As a writer, though, that was perfect, because I then allowed myself to fill in all the gaps between the facts with the story written from my imagination. I wanted to show that Katie Luther wasn’t just “the woman behind the man,” but that she herself is a fascinating character with a place in history.

What is Luther's connection to our current Christmas traditions?
Martin Luther is credited with the tradition of lighting our Christmas trees. Germany had long held the tradition of bringing trees into their homes for Christmas celebrations and decorating them with trinkets and fruit. Luther is said to have gone walking one night and having observed the beauty of the stars and their points of light, he wanted to bring that light inside. So, if you don’t have a pre-lit tree, you can thank Martin Luther while you’re struggling to untangle all those strings of light!

Could you give me a short synopsis of the story for my readers?
Germany, 1505 ~ In the dark of night, Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her.

Though the cold walls offer no comfort, Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. God, her father. This, her life. She takes her vows--a choice more practical than pious--but in time, a seed of discontent is planted by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. Their message? That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?

In her first true step of faith, Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her and the man who paved a way for rescue. Luther's friends are quick to offer shelter, but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: a home,
husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

Well…I’m not much of a cook or decorator, so a lot of that is kind of lost on me! What I really love is the time—time with friends, traveling to visit family. These days it’s looking forward to the kids coming home to visit me! I also love San Antonio at Christmas—the lights on the Riverwalk and some of our beautiful, historic neighborhoods all decked out for the holiday. I find that, even when we feel hustled and bustled, it’s still a season where people are saturated with light and love. And, finally, of course, I am a sucker for Christmas movies—Hallmark, Classics, Cartoons—you name it! Last Christmas I wrote a novella that is basically a love letter to Christmas movies called Lone Star Christmas Lights

What’s next in your writing?
To be totally honest, I’m not sure what’s next! I have a couple of stories in the pipeline, but release dates are uncertain. Meanwhile, I hope readers will love spending some Christmas time with Loving Luther, and the accompanying novella, An Offering, which tells a sweet story that’s the perfect length to be enjoyed on a winter’s afternoon.

Any special event you’d like to mention?
I’m very excited and proud of the fact that next summer, my Monday night writers group will be celebrating 20 years of gathering together to celebrate God’s gift of writing. We started out with four ladies who responded to a note in a church bulletin. Since then, we’ve grown ten-fold, and have seen so many of our members go on to finish and publish their books, as well as become serious free-lancers, bloggers, and publishers! We are an awesome example of faithfulness and persistence.

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been given that you’d like to share?
Don’t “write what you know.” Doing so puts limitations on your stories. Write what you wish you’d known. Write what you want to know. Write beyond your experience and expertise so that you can learn and grow with your characters.

What do you know now about writing and publishing you wish you had learned sooner?
I’ll always wish I had a better handle on social media for marketing’s sake. I never give myself enough lead-time. I always come up with ideas too late to really capitalize on garnering attention. I have to learn to think months in advance, which is so hard because I barely ever know what I’m doing in the moment at hand!

Any last words or tips?
A huge thank-you to readers who take time to post reviews and blogs…and even just share books around. No matter how fancy a marketing plan, the BEST way to increase a book’s presence in the world is by word of mouth. One reader to another. Thank you to all readers who are keeping literature alive!

That’s all for today’s interview. If you would like to learn more about Allison’s writing and buy her books, here are some options for you.
Facebook page
The Offering novella:
Amazon Author Page:
Instragram:  @allisonkpittman or Twitter @allisonkpittman

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