TONIGHT I am going LIVE with one of my favorite authors, Alison Hammer!
My ARC based virtual book club, loveARCtually was lucky enough to be the first book club to read her latest book, Little Pieces of Me [link to loveARCtually wrap up post] and it was SUCH an honor. After being among the first to read an advance readers copy, and having her join the club for our end of book chat, I just knew I had to share MORE about Alison and her incredible book!
About the Author:
Alison Hammer has been spinning words to tell stories since she learned how to talk. A graduate of the University of Florida and the Creative Circus in Atlanta, she lived in 9 cities before settling down in Chicago. During the day, Alison is a VP Creative Director at FCB Chicago, but on nights and weekends you can find her writing upmarket women’s fiction. Alison is represented by Joanna MacKenzie of Nelson Literary Agency. Her debut novel, “You and Me and Us” & her latest release Little Pieces of Me are both available from William Morrow (Harper Collins).
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Alison’s book launched this past Tuesday, April 13th & her launch party was EPIC – watch some of the replay on Alison’s instagram! I am honored she agreed to not only do a Q & A but go LIVE with me – she’s one of the friendliest, fun authors to talk to & I know you’ll all enjoy hearing what she has to say!
I LOVE your writing style with the dual POV – has this always been your approach to telling your stories? What is that writing process like for you?
Thank you! I love reading multi-POV stories, and I have fun writing them,too. I like being able to see the story from different sides, I think it creates a much richer, more complex and emotional story.
With my first book, YOU AND ME AND US, the POVs were in the same tense and timeline, so I wrote the chapters as I wanted them to be read, alternating between the characters.
For LITTLE PIECES OF ME, the POVs are in different timelines and tenses, so I wrote each one separately and then wove them together—which was not originally the plan. When I first wrote the book, I had it written in three parts: Part 1 was present day as Paige, my main character made the discovery about her DNA, Part 2 was back in 1974 when her mom, dad and DNA dad were in college at the University of Kansas, and Part 3 was back in present day as Paige was trying to process the news. My agent had the idea of blending the timelines together, and it made the book what it is today.
Which character in Little Pieces of Me do you relate with most and why?
I’m not sure there’s one specific character that I relate to, but I do think they all have little pieces of me. I’m 42 and I live in Chicago and work in advertising, so I definitely have that in common with Paige, but I also see parts of myself in Betsy and even Andy. Maybe a little Maks, too.
I loved that you picked the University of Kansas campus as one of your settings, what made you decide on where the book took place?
The location of the book has a lot to do with writing what you know, but I also had to consider the logistics of the locations. I live in Chicago, but I’m from St. Louis which is just a five-hour drive away, and I wanted Paige and her mom to be within driving distance of each other. While I graduated from the University of Florida, I went to school my first two years at the University of Kansas and I was a member of Sigma Delta Tau, the same sorority that Betsy was in back in 1974. Setting is not one of my strengths, so being familiar with the various cities and locations definitely help.
I decided to set a few scenes in Naples, Florida because it was a city where I could imagine Andy Abrams living as an adult, and I’m also pretty familiar with it. Growing up, my grandparents had a condo in Naples, and we spent a lot of spring and winter breaks there. Fun fact: the hotel where my characters stay when they’re in town, The Edgewater Beach Hotel, is a real place—and when I was 8 or 9, I remember deciding that I would go there one day for my honeymoon. I thought it was epitome of luxury.
How was releasing book 2 different from book 1 for you?
There were a lot of differences between the launches of book one and book two—even though both were released during the pandemic, and I had to find ways to get a little creative with them both.
For the launch of You and Me and Us, none of us knew what we were doing. It was only three weeks into the pandemic and I was just starting out as an author and didn’t know what to expect anyway, much less in a pandemic. With Little Pieces of Me, it still feels like I don’t know what to do or expect, but I had more time to plan and think about ways that I could try to make a difference in sales. Both were unique experiences with plenty of silver linings, but I will be thrilled if it’s safe enough to have an in-person launch event for my next book!
I know I mentioned her launch party – if you haven’t already ordered the book, make sure you head to grab a copy from the indie bookstores she’s partnered with HERE.
What are you hoping readers take away from this title?
I love this question, and it’s honestly one of my favorite parts about the book being out in the world—that I can hear directly from readers what they take away from the story and the characters. But there are two themes that I hope resonate with people.
The first is that our parents aren’t just our parents—they’re people with their own lives and identities and experiences and mistakes that happened before we were born. As children, we often think of our parents as “ours.”
The second takeaway really connects with the title of the book. We tend to try and put ourselves in boxes and define ourselves with where we fit—our careers, our relationship status, our religion and so many other labels. But we aren’t any one of those things. Like Paige learns in the book, we’re not just our DNA. We’re that, plus our life experiences, and the people who love us and the people we love. They’re all little pieces of us.
What’s NEXT? Anything you can share with us?
So many things. It’s a little crazy how many projects I have going on and I’m not sure yet which one will be next. I have a book that I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2018 called The Auntourage that has four friends dealing with the loss of one of their best friends the year before as they step up to help take care of that friend’s one-year-old son (I promise it’s not as sad as it sounds, and there is a little love story woven in!).
I’m also working on a project with my friend, author and singer-song writer, Stephen Kellogg. We just finished the first draft last week, but I’m really excited about it. And I have another side-project I’m working on with my critique partner, Bradeigh Godfrey. We started writing romcoms together during the pandemic and are almost finished with our second one. We’ll hopefully have some exciting news that we’ll be able to share next week on our new Instagram account, @alibradybooks.
Alison & I will be going LIVE on instagram tonight at 6:30PM, hope to see you there!
A huge thank you to William Morrow Books and NetGalley for providing me an eARC to read and review, as well as for providing the title to many of our club members! It opened up the opportunity to connect with Alison and her book!