Rian: First off, I loved “If Andy Warhold Had a Girlfriend”. What’s the story behind that book? Are you a major fan of Andy Warhol’s work?
Alison: Thanks! Yes, I am a fan of Andy Warhol’s….the book however was more inspired by his writing than his artwork. There’s a book by Andy Warhol called “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol from A to B and Back Again”…it’s just filled with his very unique outlook on art, love and life. I had a lot of fun incorporating the different quotes into the book and working from them.
Rian: Regarding the main character Jane Laine, are you anything like her? If not, who is she based on, if anyone?
Alison: There is quite a bit of me in Jane. Some, but by no means all, of her experiences are mine, too, but of course everything gets changed up. Jane, I like to think at least, is a bit more neurotic than me. And she certainly gets asked on dates by random passerby a bit more than I do.
Rian: I’ve noticed a lot of women writers create their main love interest or main male protagonist to be British. Such was the case with the character in your book Ian Rhys-Fitzsimmons. Why is that?
Alison: Hmmm…it’s funny really because the character of Ian took on such a life of his own and really does seem so real to me, that I almost forget that I made him up, let alone made him British! I think my reasons for making him British was twofold: first, a long standing love of Hugh Grant and also, at the time I started writing the book, the New York art world was very interested in the YBA’s….the Young British Artists who were taking the art world by storm. And I’m sure, now that I think of it, subconsciously I must have been paying homage to Bridget.
Rian: How long have you known you wanted to be a writer?
Alison: Always. Always wanted to be a writer.
Rian: Do you have any other chick lit novels in the works? If so, what are they about?
Alison: I do. I’m about half way through my second novel. I’m superstitious though so I’m not quite ready to talk about it publicly yet. I’ll keep you posted though and email you the details once I feel more ready. How’s that?
Rian: Sounds fine with me! So, what do you think of the chick lit genre? What about the people the bash it?
Alison: I enjoy chick lit very much. I like stories about women in their twenties and thirties dealing with life and love and all that. I think there are a lot of great voices in chick lit and some very strong books. People who bash chick lit? I wonder, who are these people? Are they not living in the same world that I am living in? Can they not find something else to bash? I have a few suggestions….
Rian: What did you find to be the most difficult thing about writing “If Andy Warhol…”?
Alison: I have a lot more “difficulty” with my second book. “Andy Warhol” was structured pretty precisely from the start. I knew Jane was going to travel to these specific places and I had mapped out before-hand what would occur in those places. Writing “Andy Warhol” really was a joyous experience. I only had a few bad writing days, when I disliked everything. While my editing experience was overall pretty painless, I guess though it was a bit stressful the first time I saw all those red marks all over my previously pristine pages. My editor and I did everything online and before she emailed me the pages, she said once or twice, “don’t freak out,” and I kept assuring her, “Oh, don’t worry, I won’t freak out.” About an hour into it, I was freaking out. But it all worked out, just fine.
Rian: Describe, if possible, the creative process behind coming up with the other characters in your novel.
Alison: Some characters were just caricatures of people I’d known…people who I took and exaggerated until they were entirely new. Others, like Ian, like the Schnauzers, just seemed to come out of nowhere and took on a life of their own. The best characters traits and scenes always come to me when i am actually at the computer, typing really fast. How do you get into their heads? It sounds a bit odd, but they just let me in…
Rian: Was there any one theme or life meaning you were trying to get across in “If Andy Warhol”? If so, what was it? (For the people who haven’t read the book yet).
Alison: I think accepting that some things aren’t meant to be is a big part of it, figuring out what’s really important to you (as an individual) is another part of it…
Rian: If someone asked you for advice on how to get over a case of writer’s block, what would you tell them?
Alison: Get someone to impose a deadline on you. Works for me every time.
Rian, thanks so much for taking the time to interview me! Thanks for your site, too….it’s terrific!