Alison Schaffir joins the Spotlight to discuss her debut YA novel, Your Dream for Me
Author Name: Alison Schaffir
Book Title: Your Dream for Me
Book Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: 03/07/2023
Publisher: Level Best Books
Welcome Alison! Please tells us a bit about Your Dream for Me.
After fashionista, Scarlett, meets theater lead, Nathaniel, she decides to shadow his spring play, but when a rival threatens her, she must use her sewing skills to keep her design dreams and relationship from unraveling.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I’d say it was a compilation of moments throughout my own high school experience that planted the seed in my head. Similar to my main character, I have always had a love for fashion and worked as a retail sales associate when I was in high school. Additionally, I did set design for the school musical one semester and realized how much I enjoyed it. I thought it’d be interesting to create a character who explores both interests and wrestles with where her true passion lies. Similarly, high school is full of friendships, first loves, self-discovery, and figuring out your path. I wanted to weave those themes into my novel because they’re particularly pertinent at that stage of life.
What drew you to writing fiction for young people?
When I was younger, believe it or not, I didn’t enjoy reading that much. I had a short attention span, and I would lose interest in books if they didn’t draw me in right away. While I can now say I’ve crossed over to the other side and have a deeper appreciation for reading, this disconnect came to my mind as I was writing my debut. I wanted to write the type of book that my younger self would have appreciated–one with a fast-paced plot, interesting characters, and warm, fuzzy moments. I hoped that if I was able to achieve this, I’d be able to appeal to a young audience and help them learn to love reading the same way that I did. I also think young adulthood is one of the most pivotal stages of development. You’re building relationships, discovering your identity, and paving a path for the future. As an author, I wanted to focus on this transformative and unique time.
What do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I wrote this book with the intention of entertaining and inspiring. For me, reading is an outlet for creativity and escapism. I enjoy throwing myself into a story and losing myself for hours, getting wrapped up in the characters and plot. Because of this, I wanted to write a heartwarming story that anyone could appreciate–just like my favorite authors have done for me. It makes me smile to think that my words could impact others and allow them to explore new emotions. Whether my book causes readers to laugh, cry, or swoon, I hope it will transport them back to their high school days to reminisce on the beauty of friendship, first love, and following their passions.
What about the writing/editing/publishing process has been the most surprising to you so far?
I think the biggest surprise was how long it takes to go through publishing. People assume that once you get a book deal, your book will be available shortly after. But it can actually take a year or two before the book lands in the public’s hands. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes like editing, proofreading, cover design, distribution, marketing, and publicity. It’s a time-intensive commitment, so make sure that writing is truly your passion, or else you’ll be in for a long road ahead. At the same time, publishing is one of the most rewarding experiences you can go through as a writer. You get to make an impact through your words and share your voice with the world. No matter what, keep pushing forward because success feels even sweeter when you know how hard you’ve worked for it.
Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it. Writing this novel made me realize how much I enjoy dabbling in the sweet romance category, whether that be for young adults or an older audience. Next, I’m working on a long-distance love story about two international pen pals who exchange letters during a pandemic. The past couple of years have been difficult for everyone, so I’m hoping to write a story centered around finding hope and connection during a period of isolation. I also like weaving fictional aspects with real events, and this story is near and dear to my heart, so I’m excited to explore it further.
Where can readers find you?
Thank you, Alison! Your Dream for Me is out TODAY.
Unlike her theatrically-gifted parents, seventeen-year-old Scarlett doesn’t like spending time in the spotlight. With dreams of becoming a fashion designer, she sneaks into her school’s costume shop, where she comes face-to-face with Nathaniel, a talented theater student who piques a new interest. With fashion still her main priority, Scarlett vows to make a dress for her best friend, Maisie. After all, she needs a strong portfolio of work to get into the Fashion Institute of Technology. The one problem? She has no idea how to operate a sewing machine.
With Nathaniel’s encouragement, Scarlett decides to shadow the school’s drama teacher to practice her skills, hoping to fuse her passion for fashion with theater… and be closer to Nathaniel. But then a distressing event involving Maisie shakes everyone in Scarlett’s world—causing their friendship to falter and Nathaniel to pull away. With high school drama threatening the rest of the year, including a rival who wants to ruin her reputation, Scarlett must rely on herself and newfound sewing skills to keep her fashion dreams—and her most important relationships—from unraveling.
Alison Schaffir is a social media strategist and young adult author living in New York City. A lover of contemporary fiction, Alison developed her debut novel, Your Dream for Me, fusing two of her favorite interests, fashion and theater, together. She graduated from University of Richmond with a major in business marketing and a minor in psychology. When she’s not making up stories in her head, she loves indulging in Trader Joe’s lava cakes, belting early 2000s pop hits, and spending time with her friends and family.