I’m so thrilled to share my interview with Alison Hammer today. She’s the debut author of the stunning, You and Me and Us. Welcome, Alison!
Author Name: Alison Hammer
Book Title: You and Me and Us
Book Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Happy release day! Can you please tell us a bit about your book?
YOU AND ME AND US is the story of a workaholic mom and her distant teenage daughter, struggling to be a family without the one person who held them together. It’s a tearjerker, but there are definitely parts that will make you laugh and smile.
What sparked the idea for YOU AND ME AND US?
While YOU AND ME AND US is my debut novel, it’s not the first book I wrote. My first book was also about Tommy and Alexis, just fifteen years earlier. At the end of that first novel, I knew a secret that Alexis didn’t even know—she was pregnant. And that’s what sparked the idea for YOU AND ME AND US.
I knew that she would have a daughter, the same age as she had been in some of the flashback scenes, but that was pretty much all I knew. When I had the idea that Tommy would be sick, the story really came to life.
How long did it take for you to write the book?
It took me two months to write the first draft of YOU AND ME AND US, which was pretty remarkable since the first draft of my first book took me fifteen years to write. I credit the speed to National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, an organization that challenges people around the world to write 50,000 words in the month of November. I thrive on deadlines and competition—even against myself—so once I stopped writing every day, I couldn’t stop!
For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?
Drafting is probably the hardest part about writing for me. Specifically the middle of a manuscript. There’s a reason they call it a muddy middle—it’s brutal! Editing is much more fun, the hard work is mostly done at that point.
What do you love most about it?
There are so many things I love about writing! I love when I really get into a story and have visceral reactions to the things I’m writing. I also love the collaboration that comes with a story as it evolves. Some of my favorite things in my book are only there because of my critique partner, editor and agent. Now that the book is out in the world, I also love hearing how the story resonates with different people. That’s probably my favorite thing.
How does your day job inform your novel writing?
My main character, Alexis, and I share a day job. We’re both creative directors for an advertising agency (although she owns her agency.) I think my experience in the industry and being a workaholic helped inform her character and the story. But more than that, I think my advertising background really influenced my writing voice and style. Short sentences that hopefully pack a punch!
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I love traveling and live music. I bring those two loves together at least twice a year with two annual trips I take. Every year for the last twenty years, I’ve gone on The Rock Boat—a floating music festival. And every spring, a group of girlfriends and I rent houses on the beach on St. George Island for a charity music festival called Rock by the Sea.
Are you working on a new project?
I’m currently finishing up edits for my next book, called LITTLE PIECES OF ME. It’s coming out next spring, and it’s about a woman who finds out through a DNA website that the dad she adored wasn’t really her biological father.
Where can readers find you?
I am all over the socials and I love connecting with readers! I try to keep it easy to find me, my name is @ThisHammer on all the sites—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Goodreads. My live events are a little up in the air thanks to this whole global pandemic, but my website will be updated with events in Chicago, St. Louis, Atlanta and Destin, Florida.
Thank you, Alison! You and Me and Us is out TODAY!
The heartbreaking, yet hopeful, story of a mother and daughter struggling to be a family without the one person who holds them together—a perfect summer read for fans of Jojo Moyes and Marisa de los Santos.
Alexis Gold knows how to put the “work” in working mom. It’s the “mom” part that she’s been struggling with lately. Since opening her own advertising agency three years ago, Alexis has all but given up on finding a good work/life balance. Instead, she’s handed over the household reins to her supporting, loving partner, Tommy. While he’s quick to say they divide and conquer, Alexis knows that Tommy does most of the heavy lifting—especially when it comes to their teenage daughter, CeCe.
Their world changes in an instant when Tommy receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, and Alexis realizes everything she’s worked relentlessly for doesn’t matter without him. So Alexis does what Tommy has always done for her—she puts him first. And when the only thing Tommy wants is to spend one last summer together in Destin, Florida, at “their” beach, she puts her career on hold to make it happen…even if it means putting her family within striking distance of Tommy’s ex, an actress CeCe idolizes
But Alexis and Tommy aren’t the only ones whose lives have been turned inside out. In addition to dealing with the normal ups and downs that come with being a teenager, CeCe is forced to confront her feelings about Tommy’s illness—and what will happen when the one person who’s always been there for her is gone. When the magic of first love brings a bright spot to her summer, CeCe is determined not to let her mother ruin that for her, too.
As CeCe’s behavior becomes more rebellious, Alexis realizes the only thing harder for her than losing Tommy will be convincing CeCe to give her one more chance.
You and Me and Us is a beautifully written novel that examines the unexpected ways loss teaches us how to love.
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 an advertising agency, 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 is coming out April 7th from William Morrow (HarperCollins).