Will Allison’s new novel What You Have Left has been lauded by the New York Times and is a Barnes and Noble Discover New Writers choice and a Border’s Original Voices choice for 2007.
His short stories have been published in Cincinnati Review, Interview and Glimmer Train.
Born in South Carolina, Will Allison holds the MFA degree from The Ohio State University’s Creative Writing program, where his teachers included Lee K. Abbott and Michelle Herman.
In this interview, he talks about the MFA program at OSU, the many elements that he wove into his book (including NASCAR), his writing process, and fatherhood.
Highlights From This Interview:
(On where the book began) “What I sat down to write was page one of chapter seven.That chapter was originally written as a short story, and when I was done with it, I knew that I wanted to write a book and more about these characters, though I had no sense at all of what the rest of that book would look like.”
“I think I started writing about Wiley (one of the lead characters) because I had an interest in absent fathers. Also, early in the writing of this book, I became a father. My daughter was born in 2002. And that’s where a lot of the interest in fatherhood comes from, and a lot of what kept me interested in Wiley was a fear of not wanting to end up like him, or not making the mistakes he made.”
“(My) life is really good. For the first time in my life, I’m getting to write full-time, at least for a little while. That’s really all I’ve ever wanted to do since I got out of college is to have enough time to really write and concentrate on a project.”
“I think you can invent everything from whole cloth. Well, not entirely. I think you need to know the emotional heart of a story, but I think anything beyond that, you can invent that and do the research so that you can write it.”