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Continuation of Interview with Meredith Allard
Are you successful enough to write full time?
I think I have a different definition of success than others. Iím lucky enough to have a day job I love that provides enough down time to write the stories that are in my heart. This past summer, between June and July, over 100,000 people downloaded Her Dear & Loving Husbandfor free. To me, thatís success, and I didnít make a dime. Her Dear & Loving Husbandwas number one in the Amazon free categories of Literary Fiction and Historical Fiction for a week. To me, thatís success. Success is getting e-mails from people from all over the world who love the James and Sarah stories as much as I do. Success is learning that I can write stories that touch people, which is all I ever really wanted for my books. I have been brought to cry happy tears over some of the lovely reviews and messages I have received from readers. So yes, I am successful, but no, I donít write full time.
Do you plan out the entire book before you begin writing? Or do you just sit down and write?
I write out an outline before I start writing, though I understand the outline is just a blueprint and will more than likely change the more I work my way through the story. Sometimes, if Iím stuck, Iíll just start freewriting the scene without worrying about the outline until my brain breaks through the clutter and I can see my way through the problem.
Do you have a set time that you write each day? Or do you wait to be inspired?
Since I have a day job, I write in the evening, often until about 8 p.m. Iíve been writing novels for more than 10 years, and I know better than to wait for inspiration. When itís time to work, itís time to work whether I feel like it or not, whether I have inspiration or not.
How long did it take you to complete this book?
Exactly two years. I started writing it in April 2009, and I worked on it ceaselessly for a year, but I wasnít happy with the results because I was having trouble getting the story I saw so clearly in my head onto paper. I had the book professionally critiqued, and then I completely revised the structure based on what I learned from the critique. Then, with the other editors of the Copperfield Review, I started Copperfield Press, an imprint that publishes historical fiction. Copperfield Press published Her Dear & Loving Husband in April 2011.
How much research, if any, did you have to do for this book? Did you interview any witches, vampires, or werewolves before you wrote the story?
I didnít interview any witches, vampires, or werewolves, though what a great idea. I wish I knew a few! I did a lot of research because I knew virtually nothing about the Salem Witch Trials. I have this odd habit of choosing to write about historical periods I know nothing about, but I donít mind because I love history and I love learning about these different times. When I wrote Her Dear & Loving Husband, I hadnít been to Salem and wrote about the town based solely on Internet research. Before I wrote Her Loving Husbandís Curse, I did visit Salem, and Iím glad I did. I think my personal experience there adds a lot to the second book.
How did you choose the names for your characters?
Since part of Her Dear & Loving Husband takes place in colonial America in 1692, I looked for names that were popular during that time. James, Elizabeth, and Sarah were all names that were popular then. In fact, if you look at the roster of those accused of witchcraft during the witch hunts, the names Elizabeth and Sarah occur frequently.
What new doors has your writing opened up for you? Have there been any opportunities that you would never have considered before?
For the last twelve years, Iíve been the executive editor of The Copperfield Review, an award-winning literary journal for readers and writers of historical fiction. That opportunity came about because of my writing. Iíve meet wonderful people, either as students of my writing workshops or other writers at writers groups, because of my writing. Writing is such a solitary activity, and itís always great when you can connect with people you might not have otherwise met if not for writing.
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