Tough question! For me, I’d have to say it’s a tie between marketing your work and being your own biggest critic. Marketing, at least, is something some people have a knack for. I don’t. I’ve lost count of how many articles and how-to books I’ve read on marketing your own work. I work as a sales specialist in retail, and specifically deal with blinds and window shades. And even in that, I’m better, in my own mind at least, about working with the customer on the nitty-gritty technicalities of the product than trying to upsell.
And trying to not be your own worst critic -- that’s equally hard, and I think that’s something pretty much all writers can agree on. It’s also important (which I always try to keep in mind when berating myself) is to utilize that self-criticism to grow and improve as a writer.
Can you give us a short synopsis of Waiting For You?
Waiting for You is a contemporary story told between two viewpoints – Kylie Lewis, a columnist for the local paper, and Adam Bell, an aspiring musician with a history of his own loss.
Kylie’s quiet, rote life — working as a columnist at the Charleston Herald, hanging out with her best friend, Cat, and downtime with her mother — is soon turned upside down. Cat drags her to a concert, where she meets Adam Bell, an aspiring musician with a history of his own loss. Shortly after, her mother receives a devastating diagnosis of terminal breast cancer. Stricken with the fear of her inevitable loss, Kylie struggles with her budding relationship with Adam.
What inspired you to write this book?
My writing process tends to be all over the place, so when I set out to write Waiting for You, I honestly had no idea where the story would take me (my working title for quite some time was Two Beat Adagio). I bounced back and forth with so many ideas for it, but there was no set plan. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to convey that devastating feeling of grief, a feeling beyond sadness – emotion so intense and heavy that you can physically feel it, and the way grief affects those around us. I live with bipolar disorder, but I didn’t want the story to be about mental illness. I did, however, want to write real, contemporary people, people of today’s day and age.
When I had begun the writing process back in late 2013, I had had a fairly recent scare of my own when I had to have a lump removed from my breast. I was very fortunate that it was benign. The scene of Kylie’s mother’s biopsy is based on my own experience – local anesthetic with sedatives.
The scene that finally got me settled on Kylie and Adam’s story, which was the very first scene of which I had a clear image in my mind, was the climax. That was the very first scene I had a rough (extremely rough, mind you) draft for.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
It varies, depending on my work schedule, but I try to write every day, even if it’s just a few sentences or working on an outline. I’m finally getting more inspiration for my WIP, so I’m able to write a lot more. On the flip side, I’m also trying to balance writing time with time to also work on marketing and social media.
Name your top five favorite books?
The Giver, the Harry Potter series (but if I have to pick only one, it’d be Half Blood Prince), To Kill a Mockingbird, Wuthering Heights, Flowers for Algernon
What are you working on now?
I’m currently bouncing back and forth between two different projects. One is a sequel to Waiting for You. It’s still in the very early stages, and at the moment I’m mostly trying to figure out the main plot points. I had a couple different ideas for it that I’d been working on, but they weren’t quite working out. As for right now, the story focuses on Cat. It may change. My early stages in the writing process have always been all over the map.
The second project I’m working on is a memoir of my life with Type I Bipolar Disorder and how I came to be an ECT patient at 29 years old. I’ve been through a lot with it – addiction, suicide, severe mania including delusions, severe depression, and multiple hospitalizations. Despite all the hardships I’ve faced because of my illness, I also want to show how I’ve learned to live well with it.
Title: Waiting for You
Author: Allison Williford
Genre: Women’s Fiction
This day would always be burned into her memory, an ugly brand leaving its scar.
Losing a loved one to death will always leave a gaping hole in our hearts — something 23-year-old Kylie Lewis knows all too well. But do we allow it to destroy us, leaving us terrified of ever loving again? Or do we force ourselves to pick up the pieces of our shattered hearts and continue with our lives?
Kylie’s quiet, rote life — working as a columnist at the Charleston Herald, hanging out with her best friend, Cat, and downtime with her mother — is soon turned upside down. Cat drags her to a concert, where she meets Adam Bell, an aspiring musician with a history of his own loss. Shortly after, her mother receives a devastating diagnosis of terminal breast cancer.
Stricken with the fear of her inevitable loss, Kylie struggles with her budding relationship with Adam. But with the help of Adam’s empathy, can she learn to grieve her mother without shutting out the world, as she once did after her father’s death? Can she learn to love in spite of her losses?
Waiting for You is a story of loss, grief, and love
Allison Williford is a Women’s Fiction author, blogger, and all around nerd. She is the owner and operator of The Sentranced Writer, a blog dedicated to helping other writers.
Originally from upstate New York, she now lives in coastal North Carolina with her husband and their dog, Wilson. In addition to writing, Allison is a mental illness awareness and suicide prevention advocate.
When not glued to her writing or with her nose in a book, Allison enjoys free time at the beach, boogie boarding, copious amounts of coffee, romps in the yard with her dog, and also saying hello to every dog she meets.
Author blog: http://thesentrancedwriter.com