Mother and Author Stacy Margaret Allan's first book, Sorrow Dreams, is due out in October 2013.

Mother and Author Stacy Margaret Allan’s first book, Sorrow Dreams, is due out in October 2013.

One of my favorite parts of being a writer is the sense of community we establish across the globe. Through writing groups on Facebook, I met debut author Stacy Margaret Allan, who not only writes about realistic characters in one of my favorite genres, but happens to be from one of my favorite places in the world: Fife, Scotland. I am very glad to welcome Stacy today to talk about how she balances writing and family life. I was inspired by her determined use of time to get writing done, and I hope you are, too. Read on, and don’t forget to visit Stacy at the links below!

How many children do you have, and what are their ages?
My daughter is four years old and my stepson is nine years old. He lives with his dad so he’s under my permanent care.

How do you find time to write?
My daughter starts school this year, so I will have plenty more opportunities to sit and write! When she was at nursery for a couple of hours each weekday, I used to sit in the library or in the car and write Sorrow Dreams. For a long time I was writing on paper because I didn’t have a laptop, but I have invested in my future and bought a laptop. Now I can use Microsoft Word wherever I like, but I am so used to writing on paper than I usually write in a notebook and then type it up later. My children go to Street Dance classes so I manage to get some writing done when I’m waiting to pick them up.

What do your children think of your writing?

I write books that are only suitable for adults so they understand that they can’t read what I’ve written until they are a lot older. They’re really excited that I’m writing a book and they often check with me to see if I’ve got any more likes on my Facebook page. I told them about this interview and they were proud of me.

In which genre do you write?
I write crime fiction and my first book, Sorrow Dreams, is due for release in October 2013. It contains sex, drugs and murder so it’s only suitable for grown-ups.

How does your writing affect your family life?
I spend a lot of my time writing, and I use Facebook to promote my writing. I try not to spend too much time away from the children to write when I don’t have to because I want them to feel like I’ve been around the house for them when they need me. I’m glad that they see I’m really putting my mind to something, and I hope it inspires them. My stepson writes stories sometimes, and my daughter draws a lot of pictures. She can’t wait until she can write full sentences so she can join in with us.What is your typical writing pace?

I write a few paragraphs for every chapter and I can concentrate on writing two chapters at a time before I feel a strain starting to affect my brain. I find editing much easier and I can sit for hours doing that, but the actual writing from scratch takes a lot out of me because I become so engrossed in it.Beginning, middle, or end? Which part of a book/story do you most like to write?
I like to dive straight into the middle of a story and then plan where the odds and ends go when I’m already in the middle. I started to write Sorrow Dreams by visiting lots of different scenes and then making a plan how they were all going to fit together.

Where do you write?
I write Sorrow Dreams in the car, in the library, in the café, at home in my living room or in my bedroom.

Do you write with background music? A soundtrack?
No, I don’t listen to music when I write.

What is your beverage of choice when writing?

Cold juice, usually diluted orange juice or Irn Bru Sugar-Free.What’s next for you?

I’ve already picked the title of my next book, Rainbow Screams. I haven’t planned the whole story yet but I know that it will be connected to Sorrow Dreams. It will continue to follow some of the worst villains from Sorrow Dreams and it will be set in Shinewater like the first book. Shinewater is a town that I invented. It is situated very close to where I live and it captures a lot of the customs and atmosphere of our local area. There’s a loch outside my town called Loch Gelly, which means ‘Loch of Shining Waters,’ and I use the name Shinewater to honour that. This area has lots of villages that were used for coal mining and the legacy remains here, even though the coal pits are gone.Is there a story you think ought to be written, but not by you?

I was talking to this lady once on Facebook about random story ideas and she said she’s done a lot of research into which stories haven’t been written yet. She had an idea for a story about a lesbian couple who were stuck in a prison in the Middle Ages. I have no idea if she went on to write it.

What are you reading?
Mel Sharratt’s Estate Trilogy. I read the first one over the last few days and now I’m onto the second book. I’m reading them on my Kindle and I’m hooked on this storyline.

Who are some authors who inspire you?
J.K. Rowling inspired me greatly because we share similar personal circumstances. She was a young mum living off of state benefits in Scotland, trying to make a better life for herself and her daughter. I lost my job shortly before my daughter was born so I can really relate to that. J.K. Rowling wrote as often as she could, pouring the words down on to paper in an effort to make everyone fall in love with her stories. Martina Cole was the first crime writer that I came across and I absolutely love her books. I am passionate about crime writing and I can’t imagine writing in any other way now that I’ve started writing Sorrow Dreams. Mandasue Heller, Jessie Keane, Sheila Quigley and Kimberley Chambers also write in a similar way.

What’s your background? How does it play into your writing?
From a very young age, I always loved to read books. My mum taught me how to read before I started primary school. I wrote stories and poems from the age of seven, and I used to sit on top of a garage roof with my friends and read these out. My friends starred in them too so they never got bored of listening to them! When I was about ten years old I read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume and I realised that you can share all of your personal feelings, thoughts and emotions with other people in a book and they will feel as if you have reached out and connected with them. After I read that book I knew that I wanted to be an author, and by the time I’d reached high school I had already decided that I was serious about becoming a writer.

Why will people love your books?
Hopefully people will love my book because they will feel that it applies to them. The characters are raw and real. They go through some gritty and extreme circumstances but they also go through the same ups and downs as everyone else. They suffer from their mistakes, laugh and cry together, and they create meaningful bonds with other people. The reader gets to see why these new-found connections mean a lot to the characters.

Thank you for talking with us today! Readers can find Stacy online at her {Facebook Page}, her {Blog} and on {Twitter}.

If you are a writing parent or teacher who would like to be featured in a guest post or interview on Writing Like a Mother, contact me, Summer Kinard, on Facebook or at summerkinard {at} gmail {dot} com.