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Friday, August 10, 2007

One Little Secret

I'd like to introduce you all to the incredible Allison Bottke and her latest book, One Little Secret.

I credit Allison with providing my first big break into the publishing world. She was my first editor, offering a contract for the story "For This Child" in God Answers Mom's Prayers.

She's also a phenomenal author, speaker and all around awesome lady.

Before I share a blurb about One Little Secret and an interview with Allison, I have to say this book was a joy to read! I'm a big fan of encouraging folks to dream big. Allison's book does just that with a lot of funny twists, wonderful characters and a totally engaging story.

About the book:

For Ursula Rhoades, her ONE LITTLE SECRET becomes her one big problem!

ONE LITTLE SECRET fits seamlessly into a culture obsessed with reality TV and celebrity lives (think American Idol and E! channel). Delving into the life of a fictional rock star, ONE LITTLE SECRET takes readers on a fun-loving ride through Hollywood and the famous GRAMMY awards.

In a land of glitz and glamour, Ursula Rhoades isn’t fazed in the least by the constant parade of Prada. She has a beautiful home, a loving family, and fulfilling volunteer opportunities that leave this fashionable and loving Bel-Air housewife completely content, even if she did have to give up her dreams when she married Don so many years ago.

Enter Nikolai Prevelakis, or Nik Prevel to his fans, the hottest young music star in the country. But it isn’t enough. Handsome, famous, and living the life of a rock star, Nik isn’t content. When his path crosses Ursula’s, he sees the opportunity he’s been waiting for. But what seems like a harmless little secret changes their lives forever-and becomes one big secret everyone’s trying to figure out!

ONE LITTLE SECRET is a Hollywood fairy tale with all the pleasures of escapist literature mixed with gentle lessons on using the talents God has given you, the power of sacrifice, self-esteem, and the value of being “just a housewife.”

Interview with Allison:

Tell us a little about yourself and some of your life experiences that have found their way into your novels. Do we "see" some of you in your characters?

There was a whole lot of me in “Stitch,” (A Stitch in Time) from the weight loss surgery aspect to the career as a professional fundraiser, to living in southern California. It’s been said that debut novels are often the most autobiographical in a novelist’s career. It’s also said that the second novel—the follow-up—is infinitely harder to write because you’ve used up pretty much everything you know in novel number one, and now the rubber meets the road for real creativity. (insert a big smile here.) That said, ONE LITTLE SECRET has far less of my real-life experience, which was a true joy to write! I had so much fun with this book!

What compelled you to make the jump from your hugely successful God Allows U-Turns books to writing fiction?

I’ve always wanted to write fiction. In fact, when I grow up I’d like to work in the world of film—writing screenplays. I have a deep love for creating those sappy, romantic comedy fairy-tale love stories that women can escape into. However, I had a major life-changing epiphany at the age of 35 that brought me closer to God in a very profound way. As a result of that, I founded an organization called: GOD ALLOWS U-TURNS. A vital aspect of that organization is a compilation book series of true short stories written by people from all around the world. The GOD ALLOWS U-TURNS anthology collection took off with its first volume published in 2001 and today, there are 23 plus books under the recognized GOD ALLOWS U-TURNS “brand.” That said, I was blessed to enter the world of publishing and get my feet wet—also important—I was able to make connections with editors and publishers who were able to see how I conducted my business.

I also began attending writer’s conferences as an instructor, and while there I was able to take classes as a student with some amazing novelists who generously shared their craft in workshop sessions. I soaked up everything I could about how to write fiction—taking notes—buying tapes—listening over and over again to teachers like Angela Hunt, Gayle Roper, Brandilyn Collins, James Scott Bell, Jack Cavanaugh, Lauraine Snelling, and Tracie Peterson. It was after taking a 3-day long intensive workshop with Tracie Peterson that I was able to fine-tune my work-in-progress and submit it with a proposal to Bethany House. The rest, as they say, is history. Bethany House signed me to write two novels and the whirlwind began.

What is something you’ve learned about yourself and God through writing that you might not have learned any other way?

Wow, that’s a really good question! A few months ago, I wouldn’t have had a good answer, or I’d have needed to really search my brain for the answer. But it just so happens that I’ve been going through one of those God growth spurts, you know? I’ve had a series of personal epiphanies the past few weeks that are helping me grow as a child of God. The main lesson I’ve learned at this stage of my boomer babe life is that if I don’t slow down I’m going to miss the joy of life. I’ve been so caught up in writing deadlines and constantly working, doing and achieving that one day I realized I had lost the joy of life. Not a good thing. I had to stop and look seriously at my priorities and weigh the tasks of my life against the rewards and more important, against what I know in my heart that God wants from me. His ways are the best, and he is in control, not me. But every once and awhile (okay, more than once and awhile) I get to thinking that I can do it all and then I hit a wall and realize I can’t do it all. Not only that I can’t—but that I shouldn’t even try.

What is your favorite way to connect with God?

Sitting outside in the quiet and listening. Listening to the sounds of nature—and to the sounds of God as he impresses on my heart the things I’m often too busy to listen to. I need quiet time, we all do, but for some of us this is as vital as water. If I don’t stop long enough to thank God for all the blessings he bestows on me each and every day, I end up being a person I don’t very much like.

Thanks, Amy, for allowing me to stop by. I sure hope your readers will pick up a copy of ONE LITTLE SECRET and let me know what they think. Reader feedback is vital!

Have a blessed day!

Hope you all have enjoyed meeting Allison! I'll echo her words about picking up a copy of One Little Secret (it's awesome!) and sending her a feedback email. Authors love those kind words from folks who've enjoyed their books. ;-)

Also, be sure to check out the One Little Secret Hollywood Casting Call Contest Great prizes for a very fun contest!

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