Will Allison, in his words, has worked as executive editor of story, editor-at large of Zoetrope: All-story, editor of Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market, and as a freelance editor and writer, ghostwriter, busboy, room service waiter, clerical temp, landscaper, housemaid, process server, antique store salesperson, and baseball card dealer. He has taught many students creative writing at the University level, including yours truly, and if you have the opportunity to be taught by him, don’t let it pass you by. He’s an incredible speaker and an even better writer. His novel, What You Have Left is one of my favorite books, and he is currently completing a follow-up work that is sure to be my next favorite book.
And now Will Allison faces the 7 Questions:
Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?
Sorry, I always find this question impossible to answer. Too many favorites. I can tell you, however, that Michael Lewis's Moneyball is like crack to me. Ditto for Bill James's The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.
Question Six: How much time do you spend each week writing? Reading?
I read a fair amount as I write, so it's hard for me to separate the two, but in a good week, I write for about 30 hours.
Question Five: What was the path that led you to publication?
The usual one: rejection, rejection, rejection, bingo! Except with many more rejections.
Question Four: Do you believe writers are born, taught or both? Which was true for you?
How about learned? I definitely wasn't born to write. I'm learning to write. Along the way I've been fortunate to have some great teachers.
Question Three: What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?
My favorite thing about writing is that it makes me feel, delusionally or otherwise, that I'm not wasting my life away. My least favorite thing is how dumb/blind it makes me feel every day.
Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)
When you're working on a first draft, don't write, just sketch. Sketch! I tell myself this all the time, and it helps keep me from getting stuck, or from spending too much time on something I'll probably end up changing later anyway.
Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
Amanda Davis, who was a great writer and a great friend. She died in a plane crash in March 2003 at the age of 32. I was living in Indy then and she was in California. We'd talked about getting together later that year, but we never got the chance.
Actual Interview Date: 8/15/2009