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Talking with Meredith Allard
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a writer currently living in Las Vegas, Nevada (it’s true, people really live here). In addition to writing novels, I’m also the executive editor of The Copperfield Review, a journal for readers and writers of historical fiction. I’ve been teaching writing for more than ten years now, as well. When I’m not writing or teaching, I like to find great vegetarian and vegan recipes since I love to cook. I also love movies, Broadway musicals, and I’m a big fan of Downton Abbey. My favorite place to travel is London, and I’m going again this summer and I’m so excited. Pinterest is my new love since it’s the one place where I can indulge in all my interests at the same time.
What started your interest in writing?
I first thought of myself as a writer when I was 12 and I was asked to write our 6th grade graduation play. In truth, I was probably only asked because I had the neatest handwriting in the class, but I felt like a writer. In subsequent years, I had teachers who used my writing as examples for the class, and that added to my feeling that I was a writer. I knew that writing was in my future, and I tried out journalism and screenwriting but neither felt right. Finally, I found my way to writing novels and I knew I found my home.
What is your book(s) about?
That You Are Here is an m/m love story. It’s about two men, Andrew Whittaker and Mark Bryce, who are very much in love but Andrew has to learn to accept himself if he can ever fully commit to Mark. It’s about Andrew’s journey to himself, as well as his journey to Mark. While it is about two men, I think the larger theme of learning to feel comfortable in your own skin is one that everyone can relate to in one way or another.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my latest project, an historical novel set in Victorian England. It’s based on my favorite TV show, Downton Abbey, and the early life of Charles Dickens. It’s a bit ambitious for me because it’s the first time I’m dealing with several plots at the same time. I’ll be visiting London later this summer—for research purposes, of course.
How long did it take you to get your rough draft finished on your latest release?
I wrote That You Are Here as part of National Novel Writing Month, so I has the first draft written in 30 days, which is pretty fast for me. I had a good outline to start with, so that helped a lot. Where normally I veer a lot from my original outline, for That You Are Here I stuck pretty closely to my oridinal idea. After that it took about two months of rewrites and revisions to get the book ready for publication.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I love to write, it’s true, but I have a lot of other interests as well. I read a lot—and I love everything, fiction, nonfiction, poetry. I have a particular taste for historical fiction and history-based nonfiction. Time permitting, I’ll watch an entire season of Downton Abbey in one sitting. I love taking dance classes at the gym like Zumba or belly dancing. I’m a vegetarian and I love to cook, so I’m always looking for great vegetarian recipes. My ultimate luxury is to have an entire day to myself where I don’t even have to leave the house. I’ll read my magazines, a book I’ve been meaning to get to, listen to music, catch up on my television shows, or just stare at the wall if that’s what I want to do.
What genres do you write in?
I write in several genres, and I like that. That You Are Here is the first time I’ve written an m/m love story. I’ve also written historical fiction (Victory Garden, Woman of Stones, and My Brother’s Battle), paranormal (The Loving Husband Trilogy), and literary fiction (all of the above). I like jumping around from genre to genre. It keeps things interesting for me and hopefully for my readers. I think I’d be bored writing the same type of story over and over again.
Is there anything you will never write about?
I can’t think of a topic I wouldn’t cover if I felt I had a good enough story to go along with it. I never in a million years would have thought that I would write an m/m love story, but the idea for That You Are Here came so vibrantly that I decided to have a go and see if I could make a novel from it. I’m glad I took that leap of faith because I’m very proud of That You Are Here. I like keeping myself open to different ideas and stories because you never know where a great idea will come from. It makes writing interesting for me.
If you write a series do you reread your previous books before you begin the new one?
My Loving Husband Trilogy is the only series I’ve written so far, and yes, I did read the books again before writing the next in the series. Every book I write is different in tone and style from the one before, so it was important that I keep the same tone and style for all three books of the trilogy. I also needed to remind myself of everything that happened in the previous books so I could use that information when writing the subsequent books.
Is there anything you wish to say to your readers?
The greatest compliments I’ve received about That You Are Here is that people who don’t normally read m/m love stories have enjoyed reading it because it focuses on such a human story, and That You Are Here has the highest rating of any of my novels on Amazon and Goodreads. Everyone has to learn how to feel comfortable in their own skin, and everyone has choices to make in their lives about how they’re going to live their best lives while being honest about who they are. Andrew Whittaker and Mark Bryce have quite a journey to travel together, and I hope they are a couple readers cheer for. I hope readers with open minds will give That You Are Here a try.
That You are Here by Meredith Allard
Available at Amazon
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!
About the Author
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.
Website - http://www.meredithallard.com/
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/copperfield101
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/authormeredithallard