Meredith Allard has stopped by on her That You Are Here book tour to answer some questions and talk about her book. In addition she has a contest for you all to enter and a couple of prizes to give away. One grand prize winner for a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card will be chosen at the end of the tour. And the runner up will receive a ebook of That You Are Here! Use this Rafflecopter link to enter and for additional contest details! Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
An Interview with Meredith Allard on Inspiration and her latest release, That You Are Here!
STRW: What was your inspiration for the story?
Meredith Allard: I was visiting my cousin in Portland, Oregon when the announcement of the Supreme Court decision overturning DOMA was made. The idea for That You Are Here occurred to me shortly afterward in some random daydream. On the outside, I don’t have much in common with Andrew and Mark since I am most definitely not a gay man. I’m not even a gay woman for that matter, but I believe that people who are in love should be able to get married, and suddenly I saw the characters from the story, Andrew Whittaker and Mark Bryce, so strongly, like they were standing in front of me. I had the idea for the story from beginning to end in a matter of days. I could see Andrew and Mark’s love for each other, and I could see how they struggled. I wrote the first draft as the challenge for National Novel Writing Month. I had 62,000 words written in 30 days, which is super fast for me.
STRW: Do you work on one project at a time or many?
Meredith Allard: Just one. My limited brain capacity tops out at one story at a time.
STRW: Hero or Antihero? Who would you chose and why?
Meredith Allard: I’ve always preferred the hero. I like to see people rise above their baser nature to become their best selves. I like characters who make brave choices to do the right thing.
STRW: People say write what you know. Do you think that is right or even important?
Meredith Allard: This is a really interesting question because “write what you know” can be interpreted in different ways. On the one hand, I never write what I know in the sense that my stories are fiction and the characters and the plot are creations from my imagination. Yet there are aspects of myself in every character, so then I’m using what I know to create someone who is otherwise fictional. On the surface in That You Are Here, I’m not writing about what I know because I’m not a gay man. Yet I know what it’s like to have to learn to feel comfortable in my own skin. Whenever I write I’m trying to find the universal aspect of the story that anyone can relate to, so in a sense it’s something everyone knows. Everyone has to learn how to feel comfortable in their own skin in one way or another. I also don’t think there are any hard and fast rules when it comes to writing, and writers can write about whatever they want. If it’s something they don’t know, then they can use their imagination to fill in the gaps.
STRW: What is the first book you read that really meant something to you?
Meredith Allard: This is going back to when I was eight years old, but Charlotte’s Web is the first book I can remember reading that showed me the power of a well written story. I was so touched by Charlotte and Wilbur’s story, and after that I wanted to read every book I could get my hands on.
STRW: What do you find sexy in a man?
Meredith Allard: A sense of humor is first and foremost. It’s great if he’s smart, and it certainly doesn’t hurt if he’s cute.
STRW: What’s next up for you?
Meredith Allard: I just got back from London where I was researching for my next novel, an historical story set in Victorian London that’s inspired by Downton Abbey.
STRW: Thanks, Meredith, for stopping by and taking a moment to sit in our author interview armchair. That was wonderful! Here is some That You Are Here details, including where to get your copy:
THAT YOU ARE HERE
by Meredith Allard
On the outside, handsome, successful attorney Andrew Whittaker has everything in life. On the inside, he has everything too, only he doesn’t know it. He hides the love of his life, Mark Bryce, from his family and everyone else where he lives in Portland, Oregon. Soon the weight of the secret becomes too much for Andrew. After wrestling with himself and his place in the world, he must decide how he’s going to live—with or without Mark.
Andrew’s cell phone buzzed in his pocket. He put his lunch bag on the counter, nodding at the message from Lisa Bloom, his secretary. He scanned his e-mails and grimaced at the phone. “I have to go.” He left at a sprint through the kitchen door to his silver Mercedes in the attached one-car garage. He didn’t even like the car, but that’s what the senior partners at his firm drove, so that’s what he drove too. Andrew opened the garage door, got into the driver’s seat, slid the key into the ignition, started the car, and jumped at the knock on his window. He shrugged sheepishly, opened the window, and took his lunch bag.
“Sorry,” he said. “I’m a little distracted today.”
“Today?” A sigh. “That car is such a gas guzzler. You need a hybrid. This is Portland. You’re supposed to be green.”
“Kermit the Frog green?”
“Any kind of green you want to be.”
Andrew looked at the person watching him with such open-hearted love in those soft gold-brown eyes.
“Mark?” Andrew said.
Mark Bryce leaned his head through the open window and kissed Andrew’s cheek. “Anything for you, beautiful boy.”
When Andrew stopped at the red light on Bancroft Street he felt his phone vibrate. He pulled his phone from his pocket, saw the screen and cringed, peering at the nearby drivers as though they were reporting his every move to some great eye in the sky. The text was from Mark.
Stop looking at your phone!
Meredith Allard is the author of The Loving Husband Trilogy, That You Are Here, Victory Garden, Woman of Stones, and My Brother’s Battle (Copperfield Press). She received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from California State University, Northridge. Her short fiction and articles have appeared in journals such as The Paumanok Review, The Maxwell Digest, Wild Mind, Muse Apprentice Guild, Writer’s Weekly, Moondance, CarbLite, and ViewsHound. She has taught writing to students aged ten to sixty, and she has taught creative writing and writing historical fiction seminars at Learning Tree University, UNLV, and the Las Vegas Writers Conference. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.