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Tuesday, December 06, 2016
Allison Pittman

Allison Pittman

Allison Pittman is the author of Stealing Home, the Crossroads of Grace series, and her nonfiction debut, Saturdays With Stella. A former high-school English teacher, she serves as director of the theater arts group at her church. She is also the co-president of a dynamic Christian writers group in the San Antonio, Texas area, where she makes her home with her husband and their three boys.
Q&A: Allison Pittman

Q&A: Allison Pittman

(January 2013)
Allison Pittman is a high-school English teacher, and serves as director of the theater arts group at her church in the San Antonio, Texas area. Her latest novel is All for a Song (Tyndale House): Can a young Christian woman embrace all the Roaring Twenties has to offer without losing herself in the process?

Q. What led you to set your latest novel during the Roaring Twenties—and to include a real-life historical figure?

I’ve always been fascinated with the time period. It was a decade of such sweeping social change. For the first time, the traditional morals of Christian life were pushed aside for a new “normal.” Activities like drinking and dancing and promiscuous behavior lost their scandalous label. It seemed like a test of faith for the entire country. Bringing Aimee Semple McPherson into the story brought together both the idea of this great voice of faith coupled with the bourgeoning power of women.

How prominently does Aimee Semple McPherson appear in the novel? (Are any of the other characters based on or inspired by real people?)
She herself is a fairly minor character, but the circumstances of her ministry play a major role. My other characters are all completely born from my imagination, although the experiences that Dorothy Lynn has with her successive strokes are drawn from those experienced by the mother of a dear friend of mine.

Q. What sort of research did you do, not just for the historical points, but also to catch the flavor of the period?
I read several portions of McPherson’s biography, trying to capture her voice. I also went through fashion magazines and catalogs of the day to “dress” my characters. My favorite “research” came from watching silent films and documentaries about the early film industry, as well as recordings of the gospel music of the time, trying to capture Dorothy Lynn’s songs.

Q. Where do you draw the line between historical accuracy and taking dramatic license?
I spent over an hour Googling around to see if it was reasonable to give Dorothy Lynn’s sister a doorbell. But then I sort of assumed bus routes and travel time and went for it. The doorbell was important, because it spoke to Darlene’s level of income, her desire to have the best and the latest for her home. The bus and train? Meh—that’s just to get a character from point A to point B. So, I guess when it matters to the character, it matters more to me. If it’s a plot point, I feel like I can fudge a little. More often than not, my awesome editors let me know that, no, I can’t....

Q. Although your novel is set back in the 1920s, how are the lessons of the novel still relevant today?
Temptations abound. Impetuous decisions, no matter how well intentioned, can lead us away from the life God has intended for us. And yet, there is always an opportunity for repentance. While there is breath, there is time to turn back to God, to go to the home He has prepared for us. Jeremiah 29:11 speaks of the plans God has for us, but sometimes we need to be on the other side of those plans to truly appreciate the prosperity of God.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2012 issue of FamilyFiction digital magazine. Subscribe for free today!



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