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.
“Hi, buddy, are you having a
good nap sleepin’ under the Christmas tree? I will assume those big
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.”
Bill comes to the rescue
with two large Milk Bones, singing “deck the halls with boughs of
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 Stella!”
Bill nods. “Now that’d be a
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
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
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?
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!
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?
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 is priceless!
Will you be starring in any videos for your other/future books?
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.
I’m curious about the production . . . could you share some of the
behind-the-scenes technology, and if you had any “bloopers”?
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!
Christmastime, families gather at one or more school- or church-related
festivities, and performances range from the very young amateurs
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?
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.
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
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
What does Allison Pittman, the woman-mother-writer, do when she has the
time and just feels like being kind to herself?
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!
You’ve written scripts, stories, novels. Have you ever tried poetry?
Notice how nobody knows about it? Yeah. ’Nuf said.
What is your current project? And what plans do you have for the New
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
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?
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!
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?
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!
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.
Valerie Anne Faulkner, a New
York native moved to the Gulf Coast of Florida in 1973. Author of I
Must Be in Heaven: A Promise Kept, she spends her days
working side by side with her husband, Bill, as an electrician, then
evenings, as a writer. The CFOM interviews have
been a great way for her to meet other authors and hone her writing
craft. This back porch writer’s family is very important to her, and
she cherishes time spent with her three grown children and six
grandchildren. A few hours with family or a day enjoying one of
Florida’s Gulf beaches are her favorite ways to relieve stress and
refresh from her busy lifestyle. Valerie’s motto is “A day with prayer
. . . seldom unravels.” Visit her at www.imustbeinheaven.com.