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One Cannot Be Ready for Everything by Allison Cosgrove

Today’s author is Allison Cosgrove, several time Nanowrimo winner, former word war captain, mother of three, hard worker and recently published author. I’ve already interviewed her here and am currently reading her mystery novel, Sacrifice of Innocence, which I’ll be reviewing sometime in the upcoming months. Today she’s decided to do us all the honour of sharing her realization that none of us are ever truly ready for Nanowrimo.

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One thing I have come to realize, as a long standing WriMo Veteran, is that in preparing for the wonderful thing that is NaNoWriMo is that we are never truly ready for it. I mean there are things we can prepare. We can plot and outline and make notes for just about everything, pre-cook and freeze meals, but in the end we can not be completely ready for everything.

The one and only year I have ever tried to plot out everything it turned out to be all for naught. I honestly had everything set out. I knew EXACTLY where I was going. I was so proud of myself. And then two days before NaNo I was hit by a monster of plot bunny and away I went on a completely different direction and everything I did was pushed to the side until later in the month.

That, to me, is the most amazing part about NaNoWriMo. We plan everything out. We get all of our emergency junk food kits ready. We set our coffee pots to constant brew. We make sure our loved ones know that if they don’t hear from us for a month that everything is alright and that we are just knee deep in a whole other world. Then we set out and put pen to paper, fingers to keypads and the world around us disappears.

We don’t always end up where we expected to and that’s alright. We may eat more junk food, drink gallons more coffee, sleep less and we may even end up smelling like yesterdays socks. We may not finish at the amount we would like and we may not cross the 50,000 word finish line but that too is alright.

Because it is not where we end up that matters most. It is the journey that we take to get there that counts. We will learn and grow so much in 30 days. We will learn to stretch our wings and not worry about where the winds take us. We will take chances and risks we may never have taken with our creativity. We will forge long lasting friendships and find a new place to call our own.

Just remember that as you finish off your plot notes, your character sketches and pack your pre-made food for next month. You may not end up exactly where you think you will when you set out in a few days but enjoy the ride none the less.

It will be all worth it and besides you can always edit later.

Author Interview Allison Cosgrove

Today’s author is not just any author–she’s a several year Nanowrimo winner and has been the City Word War Captain for Toronto at least once. Her debut novel, Sacrifice of Innocence, has just been released in ebook format by Creative House Press. Its release was celebrated with 100 special edition print copies–which, thanks to her charisma and huge contribution to every community she’s part of, she’s already sold.

She will be taking the time out of her busy day later to stop by, say hello, and maybe answer a few more questions, so keep your pen ready for any inquiries that cross your mind.

1. Can you tell us a bit about your novel, Sacrifice of Innocence?

The book is a main stream suspense thriller and the start of a much larger series.

“A cult has been killing children for its rituals and only one cop knows who they
are. But, Detective Stan Brookshire’s past keeps people from believing in him. Can
he rise above the stigma that shrouds his past and stop a cult from taking yet
another innocent child from her mother’s arms before its too late?”

2. What originally inspired you to write Sacrifice of Innocence?

My best friend did actually. One day when we were out at one of our favorite coffee
shops she asked me what was one thing that I had always wanted to accomplish as
a child but hadn’t yet. I told her about how I used to love to write stories as
a child but had never really pursued it because of one bad experience as a young
budding author. After that she was like a pit bull withy lock-jaw and wouldn’t
leave me alone until the addiction of writing took over and she didn’t have to
pester me anymore.

3. When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?

I don’t know that there was some big “A ha!” moment when I decided to publish. I
think, for me anyways, it was more of a natural progression of things.

4. Who are some of your greatest literary idols and why?

Stephen King is at the very top of my list. He spent 13 years honing his craft and
never once gave up. It was his dogged determination to have his work accepted that
made him the great author so many people love today.

5. You’ve been a Nanowrimo participant for several years. How do you think Nanowrimo has changed you as a writer?

It allowed me to open myself more to the creative process and worry less about the
finer details until after the creative process had run it course. I find I get a
clearer story line when I am not stopping to correct my work every step of the way.

6. You also have three daughters. How do you find time to write when trying to raise children and meet the other demands of life?

Truth be told it was a lot easier to accomplish when I didn’t have to be stuck in an
office from nine to five. I was able to write pretty much when I had the urge to.
Now it is a bit trickier in the sense that I am far more tired when I get home at
night so it is catch as catch can. When I feel the need I try and write out at least
a few words on what I am thinking until I can expand on it later.

7. What does the writing process look like for you? (If you can manage
1-2 sentences about each part of the process, that would be cool)

I start with an idea and for me I try not to over analyze the plot. I go over the idea a few times to make sure it flows enough. From there its pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and I write out the entire manuscript from beginning to end. Generally I do this within a short period of time, maybe a month or two. The shorter time the better. I tend to over analyze the more time I have to think about it. I write as I go. After that I let the manuscript rest for a while. Usually six months to a year later I go back and go over parts of it again. At this point I try to find someone in the writing community to go over the manuscript for consistency and the general spelling and grammar that I may have missed. Then after that I sought out a publisher for my manuscript.

8. How did you find your publisher?

Truthfully? I was playing this online game called Evony, maybe you all have heard of it, anyways I was chatting with some of the people I played with and one of them told me about a friend of his who ran a small publishing house. Next thing I knew I had found myself a publisher. So really it was a fluke for me. I have however gone the more traditional route when looking for a publisher as well.

9. What are three of the most important lessons you’ve learned about writing over the years?

1) Grow a thick skin in advance. Your story is your baby, but it is not anyone else’s. They do not care about your story as much as you do and some will pick it apart. You can not take it personally. Learn from it, yes. Take it as a slight against you, no.

2)If you are going the traditional publishing route, and not self publishing, you should never have to lay out any money to have your book published. I got tricked into that once many years ago by a very crafty and believable agent said he needed the money upfront for phone and photocopying fees. She is currently sitting in a jail cell in Texas where me and a good many other people hope she rots.

3)A wise writer once said “In order to be a good writer you must first be a good reader.” Never were truer words spoken. Read constantly. Learn everything you can about the craft from those who walked before you and then employ the things you learn in your own writing. Learn what works and what doesn’t. Hone your skills. And never stop learning and growing.

10. What are you working on that readers can look forward to next?

The next book in the series Dragon Twins is currently being looked over in a first run through editing process. I am hoping that once the first book hits main stream that I will be able to start working on getting the second into production.

To purchase a copy of Sacrifice of Innocence or find out more about Allison, click here.

Do you have any questions or comments for Allison? Leave them here and she’ll come around to answer them and say hello.