Dobsons 411

Hanging on for the ultimate ride--God's great adventure.
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Location: Oregon

The author of fourteen contemporary and historical novels, Melanie Dobson lives with her family in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Her latest novels are Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor and Chateau of Secrets. More info at

Monday, August 07, 2006

Interview with Alison Strobel

Alison Strobel is a talented writer and the author of two inspirational novels--Worlds Collide and Violette Between. She's a new mom as well as an author and business owner, but she graciously took the time to answer a few questions about her busy life and writing career.

Violette Between is your second inspirational novel. How did you get your start as a novelist?

I've been writing all my life, but I never thought I'd actually get
published. I wrote "Worlds Collide," my first novel, when I moved out
to California, but only because I had the idea and was itching to
write because I hadn't in so long. Through a God-designed series of
events, an editor at Waterbrook Press asked to see it when it was done
A few months later they offered me a two-book contract. At the time, I
was a fifth grade teacher--the last thing I expected was to be an
author on top of it! The year after I got my contract I quit teaching
to focus on writing.

What does your typical writing day look like?

Well, it looks a lot different now than it used to, now that I have a
daughter to take care of! Before I was a mom, I would write in the
mornings; it was the most productive and creative time of the day for
me, and the afternoons were reserved for the job(s) I had on the side
to provide income. Writing at home was difficult for me--way too many
distractions--so I'd pack up my laptop and go to the library or
Starbucks. I'd write until I reached my word limit, and if I was on a
roll I'd keep going, otherwise I'd head home. Towards the end of my
pregnancy I was too exhausted to drag myself somewhere else to write,
so I learned to ignore the dishes in the sink and the laundry on the
floor and write with my computer balanced on my giant belly. :)

After Abigail was born I took a break from writing, and I'm just now getting back into it. My husband and I both work from home now, so we're still learning how to coordinate our schedules and balance them with
housework. Right now we have an agreement where he'll go on Abby duty
for three or four hours in the afternoon so I have some alone time to
read, write, and whatever else I want to do. I've yet to get fully
back into the swing of things--there are SO many things competing for
my time and attention, and even when Abby is with Dan I am thinking
about them and whether or not Dan remembers, for example, where I keep
the rice cereal or when she'll need to eat again. And on top of all
that, I'm battling a lot of mental resistance to writing right now, so
there's no such thing these days as a "typical writing day." Hopefully
this month I'll turn that around!

Violette, your main character in this book, is passionate about art. Are you an artist as well?

Well, when it comes to visual art, it depends on how stringent you
make the definition of "artist." :) I've taken some drawing classes,
and when I really put in a lot of time and effort, I can do a darn
good job. But I get easily frustrated because my skill level isn't
where it needs to be in order to create the art I see in my mind.
Really I'm more of a "craft" person than an "art" person--I love to
decorate things, scrapbook, stuff like that. But I'd definitely call
myself an artist--I just paint with words instead of oils or acrylics.

You're a mom as well as a writer and business owner. How do you balance your family life with your professional life?

Sheesh, most of the time I feel like I'm not balancing them! It's
still something I'm learning and experimenting with. I think my
explanation of what my writing time looks like shows just how crazy
things are right now. But a lot of the problem is that I'm not good at
saying I need help; I think I feel like I should be able to handle it
all and be Superwoman. Silly, silly me! So I'm learning to be honest
about what I need so that my creativity doesn't shrivel up. I think
that, for us anyway, it's going to come down to schedules and
discipline--saying, "Okay, today I'll take Abby so you can work on X,
then after lunch you can take her so I can work on Y, and then tonight
we'll do dinner and work on Z together." And then making sure we
stick to that instead of one of us (usually me) saying, "Oh, never
mind, I don't really need that time today--let's go to the mall
instead." :) Abby's just getting to the point now where we can leave
her with my parents for an hour or two, so having that option will
definitely help. This season of life right now, though, is about Abby
first and foremost, so I just keep reminding myself that it's okay to
pull back on the housekeeping and stuff in order to read "The Belly
Button Book" for the twelfth time in an hour. "Balance" doesn't always
mean equal time and effort in every area; it means having proper

More info about Alison and her work is available at her website:
  • Alison Strobel
  • For a free copy of Violette Between, please email me at or place a comment below and I'll draw for the winner.


    Blogger Sharon Hinck said...

    What a great interview!
    Alison, I keep coming across your comments at various blogs I visit, and you ALWAYS say things that resonate with me. May God bless your writing work! It matters! And it makes Him smile.

    4:36 PM  

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