Monday, March 14, 2016

Author Spotlight: Allia Zobel Nolan, Day One

Good morning everyone!  I'd love to introduce you to a fabulous and gifted author--Allia Zobel Nolan!  She has a new book for children (and adults!) out, and it's the perfect Easter gift!  So, without further ado....I present to you Interview with Allia, part one!!

1)    Would you please tell my readers a little about the start of your career as an author? 

Like a lot of struggling writers, I had many part-time jobs while I was trying to establish a career. Most of it was office and public relations work. However, once I tried working in a restaurant. On my first night, I went out the wrong door as another server was coming in, wound up with a black eye, and had to go home.

During all this, I had always written, but nothing for publication. Then two things happened: God sent two mentors to help me along: Norma David, who gave me a job as a stringer for her weekly newspaper and Dr. Fran Shaw, a writing teacher who encouraged me to send one of my humorous pieces to the New York Times.  I did; they published it; and I never looked back.

Then, one day, I sent a letter to Peter Workman, founder of Workman Publishing. I had no agent, just a lot of nerve. I pitched him a book idea based on my newspaper article, “The Joy of Being Single.” Workman loved it, called me himself to acquire it, then he got New Yorker cartoonist, Roz Chast, to illustrate it. It sold about 200,000 copies  and was translated into German, Japanese, Portugal, and a British version.  

After that, I got a detached retina and nearly went blind. An operation and almost a year of rehab came next, after which  I applied to Reader’s Digest Children’s Publishing. They were looking for a senior editor of religious children’s books.  Through the grace of God, I got the job, and when the opportunity came to go full-time, I grabbed it. I stayed nine years at RDCP, wrote a lot of children’s books, and learned more about the Bible than I ever knew, the main point being that there is an answer for every challenge and problem within its pages. I loved writing for children and believe everything I did before was leading me to where I am today…where I should be. It was a circuitous route. But I made it.   

2)   You’ve published many books, and not just books for children.  Care to share a bit?

Well, my books range from the Divine to the feline. When I’m not writing Bible stories and humorous books for children, I’m writing about cats. I’m a bona-fide, card-carrying member of the Cat Writer’s Association and have been for ages. My latest is WOMEN WHO STILL LOVE CATS TOO MUCH, which chronicles my cat addiction, and CAT CONFESSIONS: A KITTY-COME-CLEAN TELL ALL BOOK wherein cats admit what they do when we’re not looking.  Oh, and my favorite book, which was written as a promise to God to stop worrying, is a book for adults with anxieties, called THE WORRYWART’S PRAYER BOOK. I go back and read that a lot.

3)  I’ve been a huge fan of your writing for many years, but Angels is your best, in my opinion.  What’s your take on this project?

Thanks so much, Deena. I feel that way, too. All you have to do is open the book and you can’t help feel it’s special. It’s unique.  Alida Massari’s art just takes your breath away. In all my years in the business, I’ve never seen such glorious images. And Alida was a dream to work with. Now, as an author, you are always thrilled when your book comes together just the way you imagined it would. And that’s what happened with this book. My idea to approach some of the not-so-well-known, but absolutely extraordinarily powerful and interesting Bible stories, highlighting the part the angels played in them really coalesced, and the result is a really unique book. There isn’t another on the market like it. Plus I was so thrilled, Zondervan did an audio version which is beautifully read and brings the stories alive.

Now is your chance to win a copy of this gorgeous book!!  Just leave me a comment, answering this question:

When it comes to M&M's...does Allia prefer plain or peanut?  I'll let you know the correct answer tomorrow in Interview with Allia: Part 2!

Happy Reading!



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Allia Zobel Nolan said...

I'm posting a comment: Thanks a bazillion million for sharing my book with your readers.

I am very grateful. And not that I'm prejudiced, or anything, but tis a really lovely book.

Thanks again,

Allia Zobel Nolan

Janice D. Green said...

I have reviewed some of Allia's books. If I win a free copy I know who to share them with. Angels in the Bible Storybook is my favorite. Here is the review I wrote for it:

Janice said...

Lovely interview! It's always encouraging to hear how authors and illustrators get their start. The angels book does sound very special. Just this past year I had to wait by myself at a local hospital while my husband had a procedure. I sat by three pictures of angels on the wall (Catholic hospital) so that was sweet company. I probably put pictures on Instagram. So angels are near and dear to me now.
On the M&Ms, I guess peanut unless allergy is a concern. They are great and have added nutrients.
Blessings, Janice jsmithg(at)hotmail(dot)com