Welcome to the BarnDoor Book Loft Allie. Is there a story behind Homefront Hero?
Not so much a story as a process. Little details that piled up into a story. The inspiration struck as I was walking through two different military museums. I knew I wanted to do a World War I story, and that I wanted to set it on the homefront--Charleston, specifically, rather than the battlefield. I found the helmet of a Charleston WWI airman who was awarded a medal for bravery over France. That got me thinking about what the pressure of such lauded heroism would be like. As I started thinking about a good heroine for a war hero, I uncovered the Red Cross “Knit Your Bit” knitting campaign supporting soldiers. Being the avid knitter that I am, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to fuse my passions. For me, fiction is like finding a loose strand and pulling--you follow along to see what kind of story unravels, then you knit it up into your own creation.
What started you on your writing journey?
The bit in my bio about “the dare from a friend” is 100% true. I was complaining about my day job one day to a friend who happened to be in the publishing industry, joking that it be so much easier to stay home and write novels (HA! Little did I know!). She called me on my bluff and dared me to write one. I had always been a storyteller, but my focus had been on the stage (I was a theater major in college) and I only wrote for my job in fundraising. That dare became my first novel. I tell people God set it up so that I could take absolutely no credit for my career because He knew if I could, I would. No one is more tickled at how it all turned out than me...I still pinch myself now and then.
What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Knitting. Or having coffee with friends. I’m a raging extrovert so the discipline of staying home getting the work done is the hardest part for me. I love to speak--and do so frequently--so that can be a welcome distraction, too. I have to be very serious about my daily word count for just that reason. I’m sure my family would prefer my favorite distraction was housework, but that’s NEVER happened.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I read a lot of different books in many different ways. Audiobooks, traditional books, ereaders, etc, so I always have about four books going at one time. The best things I’ve read this year are a debut novel by Erin Morgenstern called The Night Circus and Lisa See’s Dreams of Joy--I’ve devoured all of her novels. I read a lot of non-fiction, too--I just finished Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts and Mark Batterson’s In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day.
Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
Captain John Gallows was a fascinating character to write because he is so complex and undergoes such a drastic transformation during the story. He kept showing me new sides of himself as I wrote. And, being the silver-tongued guy that he is, he kept getting the best lines. It was great fun to take a man that could be so two-dimensional and peel back all his many layers. I usually have a secondary character itching to steal the show in every book, and Ida Landway may one day get her own story if she keeps pestering me.
If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
A dramatic, silken 1940’s torch song sung by a suave man in a flawless tuxedo. Not that I’ve thought about it in great detail or anything. Take it a step farther, why don’t we, and make it the kind of song you can’t stop singing, sung by a guy who sounds like Michael Buble and looks like Daniel Craig--now THAT’s a song I’d love to be!
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Oddball research is my very favorite part of this job--and I’ve done some amazing things. I’ve been taught to walk a tightrope by a member of the Flying Wallenda’s, I’ve learned to crack a 10-foot bullwhip, I’ve explored the Chinese gung-fu-cha tea ceremony, had a cappuccino made for me the #3 barista in the world on the most expensive espresso machine ever made, done arial acrobats in a vintage stunt plane, all kinds of fun. People are wonderful about sharing their talents if they know you’re trying to get the details right, and I’m shameless about asking. I love research adventures!
What is your favorite season of the year?
It’s hard not to adore spring when you live in Chicago. Our winters are tests of endurance, so we truly appreciate spring. When that first crocus pops its head out of the cold ground, I consider it a holiday. I was married in March, and my children were born in March and April, so there are lots of celebrations in our family in spring.
What is a favorite memory from your childhood?
I grew up in Connecticut on the shores of Long Island Sound, so my favorite memories are all about boats, beaches, and the water. Lake Michigan is big, but its not the same thing as a salt water tide.
Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
I’m good about all the medical stuff, but I dread the dentist. I live in mortal fear of a root canal. Now, if only I could translate that fear into a viable commitment to flossing!
What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
Every New Years Eve my family gathers with another family and we cook lobsters. I grew up with lobster pots, so I know my way around a crustacean. I don’t consider it a the read deal unless I’ve committed the “lobstercide” -- gotten it live and cooked it myself.
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
I feel called to write about characters who accept God’s challenge to be more than they think they can be. I love to send them to that scary place where God has taken you to the end of your capabilities and you’re forced to rely on His power. Grace, provision, sovereignty--it takes different forms in different books, but it’s a universal call to drastic reliance.
Can you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?
I’ve never been the kind of person to choose a “life verse.” Different verses speak to me at different times. I’m often asked for a favorite verse, and I really don’t have one. My favorite thing about God’s word is it’s living qualities, the fact that you can run to scripture with whatever you are facing and God will always send you what you need.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I’m collaborating with two other Love Inspired Historical authors on a series set around the 19th century orphan trains. I’m waiting for the right title to hit me--sometimes I know right off, other times it’s a nail-biting race to the deadline. It’s the story of a stubborn woman who refuses to give up on a man who continually condemns himself. Forgiveness and redemption are always powerful themes to write.
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Allie Pleiter is giving away a copy of Homefront Hero.
The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
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Until next time. . . Sharon A Lavy