Author: Allie Larkin
Title: WHY CAN’T I BE YOU?
Release date: February 26, 2013
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Women’s Contemporary Fiction
Links to the book
WHY CAN’T I BE YOU takes its name from a 1987 hit song from English rock band The Cure. All her life, Jenny Shaw toed the line, striving to be the perfect colleague, girlfriend, and daughter – a path that has led her to an unhappy (though successful) career, a failed relationship, and all-but-severed family ties. On her way to the airport for her first business trip, she is unceremoniously dumped by the man she thought she would one day marry. In her haze of shock and confusion, she responds to the wrong name when Myra Aberly, organizer of Seattle ’s Mt. Si class of 1999’s thirteenth high-school reunion, shouts “Jessie!” across the hotel lobby.
In an instant, Jenny Shaw becomes Jessie Morgan, a woman to whom she bears an uncanny resemblance. She is immediately embraced by Jessie’s warm circle of friends – and gains a possible love interest. But when Jenny becomes more and more curious about Jessie’s history, she uncovers a trail of secrets, pain and deceit that inspires her to uncover the truth that will heal her own painful past.
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About the Author
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Interview with Allie Larkin
Timeline of Allie Larkin’s Life
Q: n the timeline of your life on your website, you mention you think the idea of love at first sight is flawed, but in reality it happened to you. If you could convey what this feels like in real life in just 1-3 sentences, how would you describe it?
AL: The first time I saw my husband, I thought, “He’s important.” It was a very clear thought, and I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant at the time, but he turned out to be the most important.
Q: You also mention that a high school teacher wasn’t a fan of your writing when you were a student. However, a college teacher was encouraging. How do you think you ‘grew’ between the first teacher and the second or was Mrs. X just wrong along and really can “suck it”? ;)
AL: Mrs. X can totally suck it. ;) Actually, I remember doing very well on a creative writing assignment in her class. It was all the other class work that was problematic, and the struggle left me a bit disenchanted with school in general. I had undiagnosed ADD, which is something I studied and learned to work with in college after being diagnosed. I did have a number of wonderful teachers in high school who were encouraging. I just, unfortunately, spent a lot of time as a square peg in a round hole, and one of the places I really didn’t fit was that English class.
Q: You mention you were in a writing group before your first book was published. What did the group teach you or offer you the most on the road to publication?
AL: My writing group, in all its incarnations, gave me deadlines, constructive criticism, support, friendship—basically everything anyone needs to become a writer. They are immensely talented people. Having that kind of sounding board, and watching other people’s work develop over time is a priceless thing. It takes time to find such a special group of people, and I treasure mine.
Q: Advice to aspiring writers: What is something you know now that you wish younger Allie knew ‘back then’?
AL: You know, I’ve actually thought about that often. If only I could go back and tell the teenage me not to worry because Mrs. X was wrong… If I could tell my nervous, unpublished self that I’d get there… And I’ve realized that if I could, I wouldn’t. Because I think the struggle is a part of the process. It shapes who you are, and it makes the success that much more meaningful. So I think the best advice I have to give is that it’s okay to struggle, to fail, to hurt, to feel like you want to quit. Use it to your advantage. Make it for something.
Q: What has been the best advice given to you so far in life? Writerly or in general.
AL: The best writerly advice I’ve been given is to read your work aloud. When I get to the last draft of a book, I’m likely to lose my voice, because I read all of it to myself over the course of a day or two. I think the rhythm of fiction is very important. You catch things you wouldn’t otherwise.
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