The Reading Habits of Allison Pittman (with a giveaway)

Allison PittmanChatting with the fabulously witty Allison Pittman about her reading habits! Enjoy getting to know Allison and discovering her latest novel on the life of Katharina von Bora, Loving Luther. Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a copy!

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Are you a re-reader? Why, or why not? And if you are, what are some of the books you have read over and over?

Not really. Actually I only read about half of the books I start clear to the end. I do have a few favorites that I go back to again and again. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Maggie Smith, Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger, The Book Thiefthose are books I revisit, but I don’t re-read beginning to end. I flip through and look at passages.

When is your optimal time to read – do you prefer to read in one long block, or do you also read for five minutes here or there when you can?

I don’t usually read in long blocks of time, unless the book is beyond amazing. But, really, my reading style is more about my own lack of attention than it is about any particular book. I get distracted from the actual act of reading rather than the story. It’s why I have such a hard time finishing books! I look away, and unless I’m absolutely haunted by the characters, it’s way too easy for me not to look back.

I’ve always been a bed-time reader. At least thirty minutes or so before going to sleep. Or, a chunk on a Saturday afternoon. Read, snooze, read. I’m a huge fan of audio books, though. I listen when I walk, and even on short (like, 10 minute) car rides running errands.

I’d love your thoughts on novellas. Are you thumbs up or down? Or does it depend?!

My thumbs are kind of tucked away here. I’ve only written 2 novellas, and found the process a little frustrating, because I can spend a thousand words just getting my characters to make a sandwich. That’s why the novella I released this summer, An Offering, is a small, small story. It serves the purpose of fleshing out the backstory of a character in Loving Luthershe had a fascinating story to tell, but not enough to merit an entire novel. It’s really meant to capture a moment in time.

So far, in my novella reading, I find them overall less satisfying than a good novel. True, I get to “the end” which is fun! But, often they just don’t get deep enough for me to feel really satisfied with the ending. I’ve always been a fan of the Christmas novella, though. That’s a tradition for me—to buy a Christmas novella collection every November. So now I’m taking on the tradition of writing one every year. (OK, last year and this year and we’ll see how it goes!)

Are you faithful to a genre, an author, or simply quality writing?

Quality writing! Any genre, a host of authors. I take recommendations from friends and Buzz Feed. The last favorite book I read was a random grab from the new books shelf at the library. Literally, just reached out and picked it up—unknown author, unclear genre. It was fabulous.

Which factors most influence your selection of a book?

All the usual, of course. Word of mouth, reviews, etc. BUT—when I’m browsing in the bookstore or library, I literally do this: I open to page 72 and start reading. If I can get interested and engage with dialogue and characters at this point, I’ll give it a shot. Why page 72? Because years ago I just decided to. It has never, ever failed me.

Your fiction pet peeve?

Oh, man…I worry I might hurt feelings here. But I’ll name a few that I know I’m guilty of committing. First, I don’t see any place for children in a novel. Really. They’re a pain to write, because you always have to keep track of them. Even worse? An ironically wise or insightful child. Second? I hate a heroine who spends any amount of time nibbling her lips.

Pittman TBR

Notes about the photo:

  1. I really have no intentions of ever reading Go Set a Watchman, but as long as I have it in my TBR pile I can keep my literary street cred.
  2. Notice the Demelza book (Poldark series) has an actual book mark. I started reading it 2 years ago.
  3. When I want to read, but not really read-read, I read pages from my LIW Pioneer Girl or I will never finish either of those books.
  4. My Kindle…that’s a whole ‘nother TBR story!
  5. Please, y’all, don’t zoom in. I totally didn’t take the time to dust.

What book have you read this year that you could not put down, and why?

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis. (This was the random library grab.) I just kept reading thinking, certainly this chick isn’t this evil. She wouldn’t…she couldn’t…WHAT? It’s the voice of a truly charming sociopath, completely disarming. Precious, polite and evil. It was a narrative that absolutely shocked me because of its utter unpredictability.

How do you mark your spot – folded page corner, bookmark, dollar bill, whatever is at hand?

Um…whatever is at hand. I really try not to fold corners to mark a place, but I will fold corners to mark passages I want to return to. (sorry, I know that’s painful for some people, but they’re my books) Back pre-Kindle, I had dozens of books with baggage claim tickets as book marks. Also, once I finish a book, THE BOOKMARK STAYS IN THE BOOK. Forever. New book, new book mark. I have a stack of really bad photographs from back in the day when we used to print pictures. Out of focus, whatever. I use those a lot.

Whose debut novel impressed you more than you anticipated?

The Butcher’s Hook was a debut, but I had no anticipation for that one. This is a hard question for me, because I’m not one to be in the know for up-and-coming novels. I guess I would have to say The Bachelor Girls’ Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan, because she and I were friends for a few years before she wrote it, and while I actively dislike mysteries and have never been a Sherlock Holmes fan, her novel was fresh and funny, and all the little “extras” brought it over the edge to delightful.

When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you?

Hmm…If I’m reading historical, it’s any time a woman act out of character for a woman of the time period. In suspense, it’s whenever I’m forced into the POV of an anonymous bad guy—I feel like that’s just a short cut to build tension.

What are some of your favourite CF reads from around 10 years ago, or further back?

Like all good Christian girls, I’d have to say Christy. But honestly, after reading Christy in middle school, the next CF novel I ever read was Eve’s Daughters by Lynn Austin. I’d never heard of Christian Fiction as a grown-up reader. I won Eve’s Daughters as a door prize at a writers conference where I was peddling some magazine articles and fell in love with not only the story (it is an amazing novel), but with the idea of writing fiction. It had never occurred to me to do so. I went home and started writing.

Snack/drink of choice while reading?

My ice-cold water that I drink before bed! Other than that…maybe coffee? Or Graham Crackers.

What book cover has really caught your eye?

Oh, my goodness…I don’t even know where to start. So, I’m just going to scroll through the screen shots on my phone (which constitutes my wish list) and name my favorite there:  Rebecca’s Tale by Sally Beauman. I’m glad I did this, because now I’m reminded of a bunch of books I want to read!

Which author makes it easy to turn off your internal editor?

Anne Patchett. She is perfection. Always. Alice Hoffman close second.

What book do you wish you had written? Why?

Three answers here: Redeeming Love, for obvious CBA reasons. For personal, professional, envy-of-the-art reasons? Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. Finally, The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof, because I would have loved to have spent a year crafting a sexy tatoo’d beast.

Love it! Thanks Allison :)

Be sure to look out for Allison’s latest novel…

Loving Luther

Germany, 1505

In the dark of night, Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her.

Though the cold walls offer no comfort, Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. God, her father. This, her life. She takes her vows—a choice more practical than pious—but in time, a seed of discontent is planted by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. Their message? That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?

In her first true step of faith, Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her and the man who paved a way for rescue. Luther’s friends are quick to offer shelter, but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: a home, a husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a three-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series and once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com.

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22 Responses to The Reading Habits of Allison Pittman (with a giveaway)

  1. “Pearl in the Sand” by Tessa Afshar was one, when it first came out. I was browsing our libraries “New release” shelf, and for some reason that just jumped out at me – total God thing, because it’s now one of my most favourite books!
    And “Everything’s Coming Up Josey” by Susan May Warren – again, I was just lazily browsing library shelves for something to capture my attention, and this was it. Knew immedietly that I’d need to own it and keep devouring every SMW book I could get my hands on. 😉

  2. I just finished a book by French author Marc Levy titled P.S. from Paris. I knew nothing about either the book or the author going in and loved it! It read like a screwball comedy.

  3. I picked up a Kristin Heitzmann book at my library a few years ago, read it, and had to go back and get her other books. My friend gave me a copy of Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson for my birthday about 5 years ago, and I absolutely adored it. Her book, Blackmoore, is also fantastic.

  4. I randomly purchased The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton one day and ended up loving it. I now eagerly await every new release.

    • Oh, I looooove Kate Morton. Nothing better than wading into one of her books and floundering around until it all starts to piece together.

  5. Enjoyed the interview. Looking forward to Loving Luther!

  6. Oh, I looooove Kate Morton. Nothing better than wading into one of her books and floundering around until it all starts to piece together.

  7. I can’t think of a book I have picked up randomly. I usually choose books based on reviews, recommendation, etc. I am “hooked” on several authors and am always on the lookout for new ones by them. I have read several of Alison’s books and always enjoy them. I would love to win a copy of this one. It sounds great.

  8. It has been quite awhile for me but I would say Nancy Moser’s book, Time Lottery, and the sequel, Second Time Around. I enjoyed those books a lot, along with the idea of time travel.

  9. Yesterday’s Promise by Michele Paige Holmes. I had never read anything by the author previously and decided it may be interesting to read. I read it in one day. So a fascinating plot and characters. Can’t wait for the sequel.

  10. It’s been a long time since I’ve randomly picked any book up to read bc I have too long of a TBR pile to get done first. I truly don’t have a single book in my head that I can remember just picking up and reading…:/ boring me…TBR pile comes first.

  11. Feast for Thieves by Marcus Brotherton is one I picked up randomly at the library. Loved it! Still waiting for book two…

    Enjoyed the interview with Allison and look forward to reading Loving Luther. I’ve read Luther and Katherina by Jody Hedlund and found it fascinating.

  12. The book I randomly picked and loved was The Pants Project by Cat Clark.

  13. The book that I read that I randomly picked up and enjoyed was “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes.

  14. I subscribe to the book series, “Amish Inn Mysteries”. Each one is better than the one before. I’ll hate to see this series end.

  15. A Karen Witemeyer book called Stealing the Preacher. I had never heard of Christian Fiction at that point but I thought the story sounded cute. That opened the doors to where I read mainly Christian fiction.

  16. I picked up Sarah’s Key at the bookstore when I needed something to read while waiting at an appointment. OH MY GOODNESS. It was sooooo terribly sad, it made me physically ill.

  17. I’ve not randomly picked up a book in a long time. I working on reading through my TBR tubs! *wink*

  18. I was in a Christian bookstore and saw the cover to Kristi Ann Hunter’s A Noble Masquerade. I was pulled in right away, and once I read the description I had to get it. So glad I did because I have loved the entire series!

  19. The last book I randomly grabbed because I heard such great buzz about it was Sweetbrair Cottage by Denise Hunter. I am SO glad I did! I would name it as one of the top reads of 2017 :-)

    Most of the time I have review books so I read those first. I don’t often get to read one “for fun” (no review required). It’s often hard for me to pick a book if I don’t have one I need to read….lol!

    Thanks for the fun interview! I did have to cringe at a couple of the comments (folding book pages and the bookmark stays in the book), but it’s all good 😉 HAHA, isn’t it fun that we are all different?

  20. I will grab books by Shelley Shepard Gray, Kelly Irvin, or Francine Rivers because they are all fantastic authors. Looking forward to checking out this new release as well.

  21. Silenced by Dani Pettrey was a random grab but after falling in love with the characters I was ecstatic to learn about the rest of the series!

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