Alison Cochrun is a former high school English teacher and a current writer of queer love stories, including her debut novel, The Charm Offensive. She lives outside of Portland, Oregon with her giant dog and a vast collection of brightly colored books. She controversially believes evermore is the greatest Christmas album of all time, and she’s probably sitting by a window right now hoping for snow.
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What does your writing space look like? I actually just did a huge remodel of my home office. I was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and my therapist helped me envision a work environment that might be more conducive to how my brain works. Then, my partner and I went in and gutted it (with help from my dad). We painted the walls bright, sunshine yellow and we put in new hardwood floors. I bought a bunch of plants, so I feel closer to nature, and beautiful white bookshelves that feel clean and neat. But most importantly, I decluttered. Now everything has a place, and I am working on better organizational strategies. I love that even though my office is directly across the hall from my bedroom when I walk every morning, it feels like I’m in a real office for a real writer.
If you could spend a day with another popular author (living or dead), who would you choose and why? This is an easy one! I would absolutely want to spend a day with Jane Austen. On the one hand, she’s responsible for popularizing a lot of the romance tropes we still use today, and I think the genre owes a lot to her. On the other hand, I just think she’s an extremely fascinating figure. She never married, despite writing some of the greatest love stories ever, and I would love to peel back her layers a bit. I also get some queer vibes from Jane, and I would love to show her what the modern world looks like.
How do you celebrate when you finish your book? This is a tricky question because there is the moment I finish my work on a book (months before the book is released), and then there is the moment it goes out into the world, which is when the book feels truly finished for me. It no longer belongs to me once it’s in the readers’ hands. Whenever I finish a draft of a book and turn it in to my editor, I celebrate with some solid relaxation time, so I can refill my creative well before diving into the next project. But when a book goes out into the world, I like to be surrounded by the people I love most. I love celebrating with my family and friends, because I honestly could not do this without them.
Is there something you do/have while writing that helps your process? (Music, snacks, etc.) I actually love listening to music while I write. I’ll usually either listen to a thematic playlist that matches what I’m writing so I can get into the right mood, or I’ll listen to something I’ve heard a million times (like all Taylor Swift’s albums) so it comes like white noise. Music helps me drown out distractions. I also usually have a LaCroix close at hand. I’m trying not to eat at my computer anymore because apparently work-life balance is a thing. This is definitely still a work in progress, but I try to take breaks from my office when I need to eat.
What book are you currently reading? I just got the audiobook for A Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone, and I’m so excited to get started! I’m also reading Sizzle Reel by Carlyn Greenwald. It’s a debut queer romance set in Hollywood, and it’s riotously funny and really insightful.