Tell Me Something True – A Visit With Alison Atlee

Today’s post by Alison Atlee | @AlisonAtlee

We’ve got a copy of Alison’s debut novel, THE TYPEWRITER GIRL, up for grabs today. Simply leave a comment on this post to be entered.

Alison Atlee

UPDATE: the winner for this giveaway is Kathy. She has been notified by email. Thanks to everyone who entered! And don’t forget to visit again soon.

How far is a palazzo in Venice from an American family farm? Lifetimes, worlds, ages. But I was three or four drafts into a “practice novel ” before I realized the two places were actually one: the palazzo my main character and her family were struggling to keep in a post-Napoleonic Venice was also my father’s farm, facing an uncertain future as my father grew older.

Funny, I’d thought I was writing of something far removed from my own life. As a reader and a writer, it’s part of the appeal of historical fiction for me. With the turn-of-the-century world of The Typewriter Girl, I loved thinking of telephone calls and bicycle rides as novelties; I relished the poshness of a seaside hotel I’d seen only in pictures.

Now, before The Typewriter Girl was even a one-celled organism in the primordial soup of my imagination, I bought a silver typewriter jewelry charm. But not for myself. I wanted to celebrate a friend who’d begun seeing success in her submissions to journals and magazines. This gift seemed the perfect way to let her know how proud I was of her.

What I didn’t expect:   My wistfulness as I watched the shop clerk wrap it up, a little voice that wished the charm was right for me, wished I’d earned the right to wear it.

But I’d put boundaries on that dream. Academic writing had burned me out, I was happily busy with a career and family and traveling. Plus, among mountains of books and populations of authors, what special thing did I have to offer? So, maybe someday, but maybe not; it wasn’t that important, life was still good without it.

Excuses, etc. Perhaps that quiet wish on the typewriter charm was the beginning of the end of them. In any case, a few years later, at work on a revision of The Typewriter Girl, I arrived at the following passage:

The house was let for the season, and the family in residence appeared to be expecting guests for the evening, so standing here before it, [Betsey] needed no imagination at all to see it occupied, brimming with life. She imagined anyway. She dreamed in a way she had not since Thomas Dellaforde had allowed his mother to strike her a second time; she dreamed wildly and without boundaries.

I felt rather proud of Betsey at the end of that paragraph—she had, after all, started the story believing her life, restricted as it was, was as good as it was ever likely to be. Now here she was, dreaming wildly.

“Good for you, Betsey, ”   I thought. “Stop limiting yourself. ”

And the voice that wished on the typewriter charm added, “Good for you, too, Alison. ”


When Betsey disembarks from the London train in the seaside resort of Idensea, all she owns is a small valise and a canary in a cage. After attempting to forge a letter of reference she knew would be denied her, Betsey has been fired from the typing pool of her previous employer. Her vigorous protest left one man wounded, another jilted, and her character permanently besmirched. Now, without money or a reference for her promised job, the future looks even bleaker than the debacle behind her. But her life is about to change . . . because a young Welshman on the railroad quay, waiting for another woman, is the one man willing to believe in her.

Mr. Jones is inept in matters of love, but a genius at things mechanical. In Idensea, he has constructed a glittering pier that astounds the wealthy tourists. And in Betsey, he recognizes the ideal tour manager for the Idensea Pier & Pleasure Building Company. After a lifetime of guarding her secrets and breaking the rules, Betsey becomes a force to be reckoned with. Now she faces a challenge of another sort: not only to outrun her sins, but also to surrender to the reckless tides of love. . . .

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.


27 Responses to Tell Me Something True – A Visit With Alison Atlee

  1. Jaime Boler February 28, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Oh I really want to read this one!

  2. Robyn March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    We all have that certain something inside of us. That special something that God places inside of us. Sometimes because of circumstances or ways others have treated us leads us to believe that settling for good is acceptable. We are scared to accept from this life the best. It takes courage And perseverance and good for Betsey for overcoming the obstacles in her life in order to get the best and not just settle for good! Can’t wait to read the book.

  3. Amy Sue Nathan March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I am seeing this title everywhere I turn. And I know that’s a good thing for the author. It also makes me REALLY eager to read the book.

  4. Jayne D. March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a wonderful story. I would love to read it.

  5. Kerri March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Looks like a great story! Would love to read it!

  6. Teresa March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I’ve been feeling like its time for my own typewriter charm soon. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. rhonda March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Reading so much about this book.Hope I win

  8. Myra March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a great read!!!

  9. Deb March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I love reading novels set in the past and immersing myself in that far-away time. I would love to win this book. Thanks for offering the contest!

  10. Cathy H. March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Adding this book to my wishlist of books to read!

  11. Lauren March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    LOoks like a good read! Putting it on my wishlist.

  12. karenk March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    a great posting…looking forward to reading this novel 🙂

  13. Kathy March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I too like the phase, “dreaming wildly…” The character of Betsy sounds like someone I would like to explore. As I have been a office person for all of my working career (over 35 years), “The Typewriter Girl,” should be a compelling story.

  14. Nancy Reynolds March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    The Typewriter Girl sounds great – and as a modern day secretary, I would LOVE to read the book. So … thanks for the chance to win, but win or lose I’ll be getting this book to read. Thanks for the chance. Great luck with it.

  15. Katherine Jones March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Can’t we all take a page from Betsey’s book and learn to dream wildly? Love that.

  16. Cammi Hevener March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Makes me wish I had lived a little in that date and time .. Love the visual from the summary ..

  17. Becky March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds fantastic- can’t wait to read!

  18. BookDivaReads March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Added to my TBR list…can’t wait to read it.

  19. Heather March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    This sounds like a great story and what a beautiful cover!

  20. Kandra March 1, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    put my name into the hat!

  21. Bonnie K. March 1, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I love the setting of the story. I’ve had this book on my wish list and hope to read it soon.

  22. Paula Dolin March 1, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds great! Thanks for another chance to win!

  23. Connie March 1, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    This sounds like my kind of book! I am excited to read it!

  24. LRF March 1, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds like yet another great book suggestion from She Reads! I will definitely add to this my ever growing list of books to read:)

  25. Jayme March 2, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Oh, this looks like a fun read. Thank you for the giveaway.

  26. Janet Estridge March 4, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I love the cover of the book, “The Typewriter Girl” and would love to win a copy of the book too.
    Thanks for the opportunity to do so.


  1. Literary Friday ya’ll……. | Traveling With T - March 1, 2013

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