When we asked Allison Winn Scotch to take one of her characters on a friend date, she couldn’t choose which one to hang out with. She has such love for her characters that we asked her to list her top five favorites instead. And even there, she took some liberties…
Allison was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, grew up in Seattle, and graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Honors History and Concentration in Marketing from the Wharton School of Business. After various stints in the PR, marketing and internet worlds, Allison discovered that there’s nothing finer than a) working for yourself, b) working from home and c) getting paid to write full-time. She spent the next eight years as a freelance magazine scribe for every title you could think of, from Glamour to Shape to Men’s Health to Family Circle to Bride’s to Parents. These days, she primarily focuses on celebrity interviews and profiles, which indulges her pop culture obsession and allows her to read junky magazines and watch lots of TV. (Melissa A. wants to know where to sign up for this job…)
Her main source of pride, aside from her husband, children, and dogs, is the publication of her novels, The Song Remains the Same, The One That I Want, Time of My Life, The Department of Lost and Found, and The Theory of Opposites, which is being made into a movie.
My Top Five Favorite Characters (and Why I Love Them)
1. Nicky from The Theory of Opposites: Nicky is my protagonist’s 11-year old nephew by marriage and a 9/11 baby. Initially, I started writing him as a toddler, and then I realized: Aren’t pre-teens so much more interesting? Indeed, they are. Writing a character just on the brink of adolescence/puberty allowed me to give him an edge, and he was always the most honest, most abrupt, most hilarious part of the family. To watch his transformation from jaded kid who felt lost in the world to still semi-jaded kid who felt more comfortable in his skin was and is one of my favorite parts of the book. Also, I let him say some pretty snarky things, which is fun as a writer!
2. Jillian from Time of My Life: I have a lot of fondness for this book because it changed my career, but also because I heard from a lot of women who just understood Jillian. And I think in some respects, I feel the same way. Jillian is a stay at home mom who feels dissatisfied with her marriage, her husband, her station in life, and as such, finds herself questioning…everything. While I don’t really have that much in common with her on the surface, she gave voice to the “what-ifs” that we sometimes can’t help but consider, even if our lives are pretty dang charmed. For that, I’ll always love her, and really, as weird as this sounds, have come to think of her as a dear friend.
3. Anderson from The Song Remains the Same. I had such a blast writing Anderson, the movie star who survives a plane crash with my heroine, Nell. It’s no secret that I love pop culture – and in fact, spend another part of my career interviewing celebs for magazines – so I loved getting inside of a B+-lister’s head. I gave myself some liberties to just have fun with him, to indulge his narcissism but also portray his humanity. I admit to also developing a small crush on him by the end of the book. 🙂
4. The entire Chandler family from The Theory of Opposites: I know it’s kind of cheating to throw the entire family in as my favorite characters, but I can’t choose!! I adore my heroine, Willa, because she is so off-kilter and makes terrible decisions, and as a author, that’s super-fun to write. I adore her famous yogi-brother, Oliver, because he allowed me to mock all of these silly stereotypes while also eventually grounding him. And he was honest with everyone else but not so honest with himself. Again, fun writing. And finally, oh my gosh, her sister, Raina: a control-freak, xanax-popping lawyer with four kids. I mean, come on. With her sharp tongue and ability to mentally blunt herself with pills, how could any author not love that?
5. Natalie from The Department of Lost and Found: Natalie was my very first heroine and not a particularly likable one out of the gate. But that’s okay. What I love about Natalie is that she is so human. She screws up and is selfish and is overly ambitious and doesn’t consider everyone around her, but she is also kind and loyal and scared and fallible. And as her life falls apart, both via cancer and via a lot of other things (I won’t spoil it – read the book!), she not only grows to be likable, but she also grows into herself, in ways that we’ve all had to. She’s ballsy and real, and for those reasons, she’d also be my friend. (And for those reasons, I also loved writing her.)
Thanks to Allison for sharing her love for her characters with us and sharing her book with our readers.
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