Dusty and I are very excited to be playing host to a series of questions submitted by you for Alison Pace to answer here at The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower! Well, I’m very excited. He’s mostly sleepy…
Berenice of The Gourmet Dilettante asks…
Berenice: As a writer, have you struggled with the issue of labels? i.e. being thrown into the ‘chick lit’ category? I find it very upsetting that a lot of the successful female novelists get automatically thrown into that category, and how the term ‘chick lit’ has become nearly an insult in the current literary universe. What’s your take on this?
Alison: Hi Berenice. While I don’t love the label in that it can at times have a negative connotation, I understand that it’s just something that began as a marketing term. I think with “labels” if it helps to bring new readers to my writing and allows my books to be discovered, I’m okay with it. I also think there are several great reading websites with Chick Lit in the title that cover a great variety of women’s fiction. I think if chick lit is just a snappy way of saying “women’s fiction” which I’m sure is how it began, it’s harmless.
Berenice: Do you listen to any type of Music while you write? If so, it would be great to know which are your favorite bands/musicians, the ones who inspire you the most when you’re writing.
Alison: It’s funny because I can’t read even a grocery receipt if there is music on in the background but I can’t write without it. Sometimes I’ll just turn my iTunes on shuffle and wind up with a very random assortment of hip-hop, top 40, show tunes, and country (I have very eclectic tastes) but if I need a particular mood I’ll head over to pandora and play with trying to make an ideal station. See also: writerly procrastination.
Berenice: Hemingway would set himself as a daily goal a certain number of words. Do you have any tips on how to be more productive as a writer?
Alison: I set a daily of 2000 words and never make it. So I changed it to 1000 and do much better. For me, I need to give myself a break, have weekends, have the occasional lazy afternoon. Otherwise it feels too much like a grind and then I am the polar opposite of productive. I also think reading is so inspiring, that if you take a break out to read for an hour, it will make you more productive.
Berenice: Dogs are, of course, recurrent characters in your novels and also (I presume) a big inspiration for you. Do you consider animals to be more loyal and better company than humans? (Sometimes I do! LOL)
Alison: I’m lucky to have a bunch of people I love to spend time with, but I’m completely enamored with dogs. Every one I see makes me smile. One of my favorite things to do is spend time with my dog. Something I get to do quite a lot of as I work at home.
Britta of Forelsket and Novel Days asks…
Britta: What are some inspirations that move you to write your novels? I like to think that the Arts as a whole, can be a catalyst of inspiration within itself, knowing your background in Art History, does Art tend to inspire your work? Music? Film? etc.
Alison: Art does inspire me a lot, as do dogs. I also find that New York City inspires me, conversations with friends, and those random thoughts that pop into my head often make their way into my books. Reading inspires me very much, too. My first advice to anyone who wants to write is: read.
Carolann of Wonderpug Graphics asks…
Carolann: I would love to know about your pugs – names, personality, why you decided to adopt a pug, etc.?
Alison: I love pugs, and as evidenced by the books I’ve written about them, I find them endlessly entertaining and inspiring. But I actually do not have a pug. I have a Westie named Carlie. She’s very wonderful, too, and appears in my novel City Dog.
Carolann: I would love to know if you ever considered donating some of the proceeds from your ‘Pug’ books to any pug shelters? There are actually a lot around the country – since pugs do tend to have some allergies and medical issues – pugs do tend to be abandoned quite often.
Alison: I’m always happy to donate signed Pug Hills and A Pug Tale’s to pug rescue groups throughout the country so they can use them as raffle prizes or sell them or whatever will help them best raise funds. If you know of any groups in need of signed books, please feel free to send them to me or to my publicist at Penguin, Erin Galloway.
Carolann: I am also very interested in you yourself – who are your favorite artists, what is your favorite art movement, what is your favorite piece, what art do you have in your house, who is your least favorite artist and why – you seem to have so many wonderful interests that I also share so I just find myself intrigued by you as a person. And also on the writing end – who are your favorite writers, who inspires you, if you could have one writer’s career, who would you wish to be?
Alison: Thanks so much. My interests tend to change a lot based on what I’ve most recently seen or read or listened to. Some staples though are: favorite book: The Secret History. favorite music: my cousin Anthony Roth Costanzo who is an opera singer. All writers inspire me and I’m impressed with anyone who is able to keep writing and publishing books.
Gabrielle of Miss Kismet asks…
Gabrielle: Do you plan on creating more books with dogs other than pugs? Such as Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Golden Retrievers, etc, even mixed breed pups.
Alison: I have a book coming out in December 2012 which is an essay collection about all the dogs I’ve known in my life, so in it there are: bulldogs, pugs, mastiffs, shar-peis, a few different terriers, corgis and my Westie, Carlie. I’m really looking forward to its publication.
Alison was also kind enough to autograph copies of Pug Hill for two lucky readers! I’m so happy to have the opportunity to share this book with you all. The rules are quite simple:
Simply leave a comment with your name and country (example: Casee Marie, USA).
The contest will be closed on Thursday, December 15th. On Friday, December 16th, I’ll randomly select an American winner and an international winner to receive autographed copies of Pug Hill!
If you missed my review of Pug Hill yesterday you can check it out here. Happy reading!