|Valerie Anne Faulkner
interviews Allison Pittman
Christian Fiction On-line Magazine, December, 2008
Brrr . . . it’s December! Writing from the back porch has been a lot of fun this past year, but with
temperatures dropping, I think I’ll mosey in by the fireplace and set up shop where it’s nice and
warm. My dog, Jake, obviously has the same idea . . . and his big brown eyes follow my steps, his
tail wags on my arrival.
brown eyes of yours are saying yes. Were you wondering what treats will be in your red flannel
stocking this year?” Hum . . . maybe I shouldn’t have brought that up.
Jake’s ears perk up to ‘treat.’ “Okay! Okay, boy.”
holly, fa la la la la, la la la la. Merry Christmas!”
My guys make me smile. This time of year makes me smile. I think of all my blessings . . . Our
Savior, who was born on Christmas day.
“Hey, you two? This is my last interview for 2008. How about we take our virtual jeep ride to Texas
and see Christmas, Texan style? It could be like an early Christmas present. Jake can meet
Bill nods. “Now that’d be a treat!”
This month's interview is with Allison Pittman, the author of the Crossroads of Grace Series: Ten
Thousand Charms, Speak Through the Wind, and With Endless Sight. She also has a work of
nonfiction, Saturdays with Stella, which takes the reader through the journey of learning spiritual
truths in dog obedience school.
When she’s not writing, Allison is busy being a wife to her husband, Mike, and mother to three
sons. She resides in Texas in a town just outside of San Antonio.
I asked Ms. Pittman where would be a good place for the interview. She replied, “Stella loves to go
to the park and play disc golf with Mikey and the boys. Of course, being in San Antonio, there’s
always the Alamo.”
Jake voted for disc golf!
“They’re all having fun, so let’s begin?”
Valerie: You and your husband have been blessed with three boys: middle school twins and a
ten-year-old! How do you keep up with the laundry, let alone find time to write?
Allison: The answer to that is such a stunning example of God’s foresight. I married a man who is
not only kind, sweet, and generous, but he is also laundrophile. My Mikey sorts, washes, dries,
and puts away every stitch that all of us wear. We got a new clothes dryer two years ago, and I
don’t even know how it works!
As far as finding time to write—well, these days I have lots of time on days when I’m home and
they’re all at school. But even when I’m under a deadline gun, I just have to say I’m locking myself
away or going to a local café to get some work done!
Valerie: I watched your book trailer video for Saturdays with Stella and, being a dog lover, felt an
immediate need to buy your book. How has this medium worked out for you?
Allison: It’s a hoot, isn’t it? I think that it’s a great way to introduce Stella to potential book buyers,
but initially the real power came before the book came out. The video was originally produced to
show to marketing teams and store reps. My editor told me that book buyers left the meeting
requesting manuscripts just to read for themselves. That doesn’t happen often. Their enthusiasm
Valerie: Will you be starring in any videos for your other/future books?
Allison: I dunno . . . I’m not sure how effective it would be for a work of fiction. I kind of like to
“disappear” behind my fiction works. One thing for sure, though—Allison’s gonna hit the gym
before filming anything. For those of you who check out the trailer, forget the camera “ten pound”
rule. The camera adds triplets.
Valerie: I’m curious about the production . . . could you share some of the behind-the-scenes
technology, and if you had any “bloopers”?
Allison: Truthfully, that was a super hard day for me. My mother-in-law had been ill for months,
and on the day we filmed, my husband was out of town with her in the hospital. We knew she was
near death. In fact, she died the next day.
In the hours before the shoot, I was racing around the mall, taking the boys to get haircuts and
dress shoes to wear with their new black suits. I’d been on my cell phone with all kinds of relatives,
updating them on Jean’s condition and making arrangements. My first instinct was to reschedule,
but we were on such a tight deadline, and the guys who shot the film (real cinematographers, by
the way, their feature film résumés are quite impressive) had only so many days they could fit me
in. So as I drove to the park, I just said, “Lord, get me through this.”
For the next hour or so, my mind was totally focused on the task at hand. Stella was beautifully
behaved. The weather was perfect. The light was perfect. I remembered my lines. Everything went
so smoothly—like God was just holding my hand through the whole thing!
Valerie: Usually at Christmastime, families gather at one or more school- or church-related
festivities, and performances range from the very young amateurs (little angels that take our
breath away) to the grand, almost professional presentations. You write scripts and direct for a
ministry’s drama worship. Would you tell us about your next show?
Allison: Right now I’m actually working on an Easter program. We have an amazingly talented
young associate music minister who is just finishing his music degree, and he’s writing an original
score. It’s a program focused on the cross—we’ll have Jesus and the two criminals on the crosses
on the stage throughout most of the program—but there’s a narrative frame of Jesus’
conversation with Nicodemus.
Valerie: In December we celebrate our Savior’s birth, and traditions are important to many of us.
Has your family started its own or maybe held on to an older traditional custom that throughout
this season reminds you of the true meaning of Christmas? And would you like to share it with us?
Allison: You know, I thought a lot about this question, and I’m surprised at how hard it was for me
to come up with an answer! I have a wonderful, close, large loving family, and we all just love each
other so much and treasure our time together. But traditions? Not really. I mean, nothing specific. I
guess part of the reason is because our family isn’t the same from year to year—there’s always a
new spouse or baby or kid who has “graduated” from being, well, a kid. We’re scattered over five
states, so having a perfectly coordinated celebration is hard! I guess our main tradition is just
good conversation, good food, and lots of love.
Valerie: What does Allison Pittman, the woman-mother-writer, do when she has the time and just
feels like being kind to herself?
Allison: She will go to a movie or park herself in front of a Gilmore Girls marathon. She also might
go to her mom’s house (without the hubby and kids) and be pampered!
Valerie: You’ve written scripts, stories, novels. Have you ever tried poetry?
Allison: Yes. Notice how nobody knows about it? Yeah. ’Nuf said.
Valerie: What is your current project? And what plans do you have for the New Year?
Allison: Right now I’m just eagerly awaiting the release of Stealing Home. The next book is still a
mass of swirling ideas. This, of course, means that I’ll be spending the New Year chasing those
ideas and reining those in and writing, writing, writing. Look for me to be a mad woman under
deadline around June or July. I’m also excited to have the opportunity to do a little more speaking
and teaching in the spring.
Valerie: Tell me, please, with a house full of men how do you keep everybody happy and “jump”
for an important book-related conference or signing tour? Do you stress and tackle every
imaginable detail that may have to be taken care of while you’re away, or are you calm and not at
all worried, knowing everything’s in God’s hands?
Allison: Oh, good heavens, trust me. My boys are much better off in their father’s care than in
mine. I just got back from a week-long conference in Glorieta, New Mexico, and whenever I
checked in, Mikey was taking the boys to fun activities and cooking yummy meals. When he’s out
of town, we do Netflix and fast food. So, yes, I know they’re in God’s hands because God brought
the perfect man into my life to be their father!
Valerie: You taught school and then began writing full time. How has this helped or hindered your
goals, and what would you tell an up-and-coming writer if they wanted to quit their day job?
Allison: Quitting the day job was really, really hard. It demanded a lot of financial sacrifice on the
part of my family. If your family is dependent on your income, then you need to lay the financial
groundwork before you quit. And then, be sure you have a lead on other part-time opportunities
to help bridge the gap. Given all of that, though, follow God’s leading. I didn’t quit my job until it
got to the point that my job interfered with the blessings God was allowing through my writing. It’s
amazing how, if you let Him, He’ll take over your life!
Valerie: Thank you, Allison. I know this is such a busy time of year, and I appreciate this
opportunity. My family and I would like to wish you and your family and all our readers a very
happy, healthy holiday season. Merry Christmas. God bless.