Saturday, April 27, 2013

Interview with Autumn Doughton

Currently, Autumn lives in Gainesville, Florida with her two daughters, two dogs, two cats, two rabbits, three ducks and one lovely husband. She writes books. Fun books for you, and your sister, and your best friend, and your hair dresser, etc. She thinks of writing as a sort of therapy, and the results tend to be feel-good odes to her lost youth, which is exactly how she likes it.
When Autumn isn't working or looking for recipes that include avocado as a key ingredient, she can be found skulking around the movie theater or local bookseller. Generally with chocolate somewhere on her person because she never leaves home without a treat.

I’m having a HUGE fan girl moment right now. I love your books! I read ON AN EDGE OF GLASS and loved it so much that I immediately went and bought your other book I’LL BE HERE. Okay, so this isn’t really a question, so I better stop fan girling and get on with the interview!

On an Edge of Glass is the BEST book I’ve read all year. I loved every second of it. Could you give us a brief summary of what the story is about?
First of all… THANK YOU! I love, love, LOVE your books and am basically in awe of you. I laughed and cried and swooned during FALLING FOR HADIE and I can’t wait for your next release, so to get a good review from you is incredible!
Now, back to the question. ON AN EDGE OF GLASS centers around college senior, Ellie Glass. Ellie is your typical Type A personality who has her whole life planned out. One afternoon she’s sitting in a coffee shop and has a chance encounter with a scruffy, downright sexy musician. Over the next few days she can’t get him out of her head, and when fate intervenes and the two are thrown together, Ellie gets more than she bargained for. Pretty soon she finds herself feeling and doing things that she never thought were possible.

I'm so glad you enjoyed Falling for Hadie! Coming from you, that is a huge compliment!

Reading your book was like poetry for me. Each word, each bit of description was so meaningful and beautiful. Where did you pick up this style of writing? Is it something that will be present in each of your books?
I get a lot of inspiration from music and the lyrics, so I suppose that has a lot to do with the “poetic” descriptions. Sometimes I struggle because I worry that I’ve gotten too flowery with my words and other days I feel like everything I write is a complete bore and I have to go back and make it more descriptive. It’s a tough balance to find and I hope that with each book I get a little better.

On an Edge of Glass is a story about love and misunderstandings. Did you draw from any real life experiences? Are Ben and Ellie characters that you can relate you?
The story behind ON AN EDGE OF GLASS is sort of an embarrassing one. It begins on the day that the Avett Brothers (my favorite band) were coming to Gainesville for a concert. I was walking my dog on the UF campus (like I do almost every day) and I was jamming out to their latest album getting ready for the show that night and thinking, "Wow, wouldn't it be unreal if Bob, Scott, Joe, or Seth were on campus RIGHT NOW and I caught a glimpse??"

Well... who do you think I look up and see jogging straight at me? Seth freaking Avett. My heart may have actually stopped beating. So, there I was--all sweaty and gross and (because I'm a good pet owner) holding a bag of dog poop. A BAG OF DOG POOP. Basically, the story goes that every single part of me froze up and I said absolutely nothing and before my brain cells could manage to reboot, the moment had passed and I was left standing like a moron staring at Seth Avett's back wondering if I should chase him down like a lunatic stalker and ask for an autograph. I didn't go after him. What I did was walk home on shaky legs with my head lost in a cloud of misery as I relived the moment on an endless cycle of what-ifs that all boiled down to: what if I were less of a dolt?

A few days later, Ellie and Ben just popped in my head and I knew that I wanted to write a love story about a chance encounter and a missed opportunity.

Um, wow. That is super awkward! But at least we got Ellie and Ben from that experience! =)

Can you share your favourite scene or quote from On an Edge of Glass?
I love Ellie’s best friend Mark so much, and I think I enjoyed writing the scenes with him in it the most. He’s actually based on a friend of mine so it was easy to imagine what he would say and what he would do. My favorite line is when Mark tells Ellie: “Happiness isn't something that you plan for. It comes knocking unexpectedly, just like opportunity. And it's up to you to answer the door and invite it inside.” That isn’t just something that I wrote. It’s something that I truly believe.
My favorite scene is when Ellie and Ben have their first date and he brings her the Gummi Bear bouquet. I just loved the idea of that so much and that he was nervous and a little shy about it.

I really loved Mark, too! And that scene between Ellie and Ben was adorable!

I’ll Be Here was an excellent read too. I found myself swooning over Alex and hoping that things would work out for Willow. The way you described Willow’s heartbreak was so real and it really affected me. How did you manage to make her emotions so real?
I tried to write those scenes from experience. I know exactly what it’s like to be seventeen and tied up in knots and have your heart ache over a boy who is all wrong for you because I’ve been there.  
Before I wrote the break-up scene between Willow and Dustin, I looked through my high school yearbook to get back into the teenage girl mindset. By the time I was done writing it, I was actually a little sick to my stomach and I felt like looking up my ex-boyfriend on Facebook to thank him for breaking my heart back then so that I could channel the emotions.

What was your favourite part about writing I’ll Be Here? What made you want to write this story?
When I started writing, I actually didn’t have a clear direction. I had Willow’s voice in my head and I knew that I wanted to bring her to life and that her message was about learning to pick yourself up after falling flat on your face. I played around with some ideas and none of them seemed to be right. Then I was at a restaurant and there was a teenage girl next to me and she was telling her friend about her break-up and a light went off in my head. The rest of the characters just came to me and I went from there.

You have a knack for writing swoon-worthy men. Even now, I can’t decide if I’m more in love with Ben or Alex. What’s your secret to writing men that make us weak at the knees?
I don’t want his ego to get too bloated, but I have to say that my husband is a pretty spectacular guy and there are big pieces of him in both Alex and Ben. And I drew inspiration for those characters from other men in my life—real and fictional, past and present. I’m a complete romantic and it’s easy for me to get caught up in the romance so I often times have to give myself a reality check to keep those characters grounded in real life.

What have you loved the most about your journey as an author?
Well, I have to admit that getting to work in my pajamas is pretty awesome. But, honestly, it’s the connections that I’ve made. Connections with other authors like yourself, and with readers. Every time someone emails me and tells me that they enjoyed the book or that they related to Ellie or Willow, it makes my world brighter.


Pen or keyboard?
A little bit of both actually. I like to keep a notepad on me and play around with ideas using pen and paper. I’ll write lines, or sketch something, or simply one word that I know I want to use. I glance at the notepad for inspiration when I’m writing on my laptop.

Amazon or bookstore?
This is a hard one. I am a bookstore junkie. I love real books—the smell, the feel, the way they look on my shelves, but the kindle has changed my world. With the kindle, I can take an entire library with me wherever I go. And I’m infamously impatient so I love the fact that with Amazon, if it’s two in the morning and I read a review for a book that I think I might like, I can download it in seconds rather than having to wait for the bookstore to open.  That being said, I hope that brick and mortar bookstores stick around. There are certain times I just want to browse real books. I think of it as watching a movie from home or going to the movie theater. Being at home is convenient and wonderful and I’m glad that I can pause the movie when I have to pee and don’t run the risk of getting a seat next to a smelly guy, but there’s something special about going to the movies. It’s an “event.”

Are you more like Willow or Ellie?
I think there are parts of myself in every character that I write. I’m definitely neurotic and insecure like Willow, but I put pressure on myself the way that Ellie does.

Alex or Ben?
Though I love Alex, I have to say Ben. I LOVED writing him. It was hard to finish the book and move onto something new because I missed Ben so much.

Team Damon or Team Stefan?
Team Damon all the way, baby!

Thank you so much for your time, Autumn! You’re the best!

Find out more about Autumn on her Facebook page or her official website.

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