Interview with Allie Larkin, author of women's fiction 'Stay'

Allie Larkin lives in Rochester, New York, with her husband, Jeremy, their two German Shepherds, Argo and Stella, and a three-legged cat.

She is the co-founder of TheGreenists.com, a site dedicated to helping readers take simple steps toward going green.

STAY is her first novel.

You can visit Allie’s website at www.allielarkinwrites.com.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Allie. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing professionally and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Stay?

Thank you for having me!

Stay is my first novel. It started as a writing exercise in a college creative writing group. One of our last assignments in the class was to take a writing exercise and revise it three times, changing something substantial, like tense, point of view, or setting. I chose to revisit that writing exercise, because it was one of my worst, and I felt that I had the most room for improvement. In the third revision, I changed the point of view, and Van, the main character in Stay, showed up. I wrote a short story about Van and her best friend Janie. Once I graduated from college and got a job, I had little time to write. Then, a few years later, I was invited to join a writing group. I decided to revisit Van’s story. My intention was just to clean up the dialogue a little and start submitting it to literary magazines. But in trying to figure out how to make the story work, I started to think about what might have happened before the story started, and that’s where Stay started.


Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

The working title for the book was Savannah Leone and Her Trusty Dog Joe. But as we got ready to submit the book, my agent suggested a title change. When I talked with my husband and friends about a possible title change, everyone confessed that they really didn’t love the original title. I started thinking about shorter titles. For a few weeks I thought about 2-3 word titles. But I was at the grocery story running errands one day and Stay popped into my head. I instantly knew it was the right title.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

I love Van so much. If she were real, I’d want to be her friend. Having that love for her is what kept me going through the process of getting Stay published. When I had moments where it was hard to believe in myself, I still believed in my characters and I still wanted to tell the best story I could tell about them.


Q: Can you tell us the story behind your book cover? Did you choose it or did your publisher, Dutton, have full control? Were you happy with the decision or did you have something else in mind?

Monica Benalcazar at Dutton designed the cover for Stay. Apparently, it’s hard to find a stock photo of a black German Shepherd like Joe in Stay. When I heard they were having difficulties finding the right photo for the cover, I volunteered to take some photos of our German Shepherd, Argo, who was an inspiration for Stay. My husband and I took over a thousand photos of Argo to get the cover shot. As a first time author, it’s amazing to see your book on the shelves, but for me, it’s been all the more amazing to see my dog on the cover of my book.


Q: How have you approached marketing your book? Do you have someone doing it for you or have you had to do most of the marketing yourself?

I’ve been working with Ava Kavyani, who is my publicist at Dutton; but it’s also very important these days for authors to take an active role in marketing. I’ve been a blogger since 2007, and it has been so amazing to get support for the book from fellow bloggers.


Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

Stay gets compared to Something Borrowed a lot. There are some very obvious differences, but explaining them would be a spoiler for both books. And, of course, Stay has a dog in it. I think Van is very earnest in her struggles. She wears her emotions so close to the surface, and I very much love that about her.


Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

On page 64 Van is at the airport to pick up the German Shepherd puppy she accidentally ordered off the internet from Slovakia when she was drunk and heartbroken and watching a Rin Tin Tin marathon. When she goes to sign for the dog, she discovers that he’s not a puppy, but a 100 pound dog, and she’s terrified of him.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

I’m working on something completely new now, but I do hope to revisit the characters from Stay in the future.


Q: Thank you for your interview, Allie. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

I’m on Twitter @AlliesAnswers, I blog at AllieLarkinWrites.com, TheGreenists.com, and TinyTangents.Typepad.com. And my books can be purchased wherever books are sold.
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Stay-Allie-Larkin/dp/0525951717/?_encoding=UTF8&tag=alllarwri-20

Barnes & Noble - http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/product.aspx?EAN=9780525951711

Borders - http://www.borders.com/online/store/TitleDetail?sku=0525951717

IndieBound - http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780525951711
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