Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight ~ Alison Stuart & Sasha Cottman

Welcome to a conference spotlight

from the

Riding the Waves conference!

Today we have Alison Stuart and Sasha Cottman who will be presenting the workshop STAY ON COURSE: Using Scrivener as a Writer’s Tool.



Alison-web smallAlison Stuart is an award winning Australian writer of historicals with heart. Whether duelling with dashing cavaliers or waywards ghosts, her books provide a reader with a meaty plot and characters who have to strive against adversity, always with the promise of happiness together. Alison is a long time member and past President of RWA. She describes herself as a “lapsed lawyer” who has worked in the military and fire service, which may explain a predisposition to soldier heroes. She lives with her own personal hero and two needy cats and likes nothing more than a stiff gin and tonic and a walk along the sea front of her home town. Her latest book, GATHER THE BONES, is a “Downton Abbeyesque” haunting love story set in 1923.

Alison uses Scrivener for Mac.

sasha cottman author picBorn in England, but living most of her life in Australia, Sasha Cottman writes Regency romance as a creative escape from her full time career as a finance executive. Several years ago, she decided to undertake a creative writing course unaware that it was full of budding romance writers. Having never read a romance book in her life, she was challenged by the course lecturer. “If you haven’t read it then how are you to write it?” In 2009 she joined Romance Writers of Australia and at her first conference was stunned to discover the amazingly creative and supportive group of people who comprise the RWA membership.

Sasha uses Scrivener for Windows.


Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

Sasha:  Hyperactive overachiever aiming to have more twitter followers than Ellen.

Alison:  Fangirl of men in uniform, always a lady.


What will participants take away from this session? (OR what is the key outcome or take-home message?)

Alison:  This workshop is intended for Scrivener novices.  At the end of our session workshop participants will walk out with a basic understanding of how to set up and work with a document in Scrivener through to how to compile the finished manuscript in manuscript format all ready to send off to a publisher.


What prompted you to put together this workshop for “Riding The Waves”?

Alison:  Sasha and I are passionate Scrivener users and yet we are completely different writers– I’m a pantser and she’s a plotter; I’m a Mac and she’s a PC—and yet Scrivener is perfect for both our writing styles. Unfortunately Scrivener is a victim of its own cleverness and although we have talked plenty of our fellow writers into giving it a go, the feedback we have been getting is the visual  complexity of the program, compounded by a highly technical interactive tutorial  was  enough to put people off.

Sasha:  Participants should be aware that Scrivener was originally developed for Mac and there are subtle differences in features between the Mac and PC versions.


Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

Alison:  Important! We are requesting that participants in our workshop come with a computer preloaded with Scrivener (it is available in a trial version from http://www.literatureandlatte.com  or email Alison for details on a special offer for conference attendees- see end of article ).  As we are stepping people through the program using data projection,  you will need to have it there to work with us. If you don’t have a computer you can certainly look on with someone with a computer but I don’t think you’ll get as much out of it.


Any advice for conference first-timers?

Sasha:  Do not be caught without a pen and notebook.

Alison:  Don’t be nervous about talking to “published authors”.  You will find everyone is approachable and friendly.


What is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?

secretsintime emailAlison:  I’ve had two books out in the last 6 months. GATHER THE BONES is my “Downton Abbey” with ghosts story and My latest novel, a historical time travel, SECRETS IN TIME came out on 1 April. To find out more about me and my books, visit my website at www.alisonstuart.com

Sasha:  I have recently sold my debut novel, a Regency Historical to Destiny Romance and it is scheduled for a 2013 release. Visit my website at www.sashacottman.com

Finally, we are so delighted you’re visiting us in Western Australia. Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to seeing or doing while you’re here? 


  • Networking and catching up with RWA members who I only get to see once a year.
  • Taking some quiet time to listen and absorb new writing/marketing skills during the Friday workshop and weekend breakout session.
  • Stealing away and visiting the historical ships in Fremantle harbour.
  • Converting more writers to Scrivener.


Alison: I lived in Perth for a short while when we first emigrated to Australia from Kenya in …umm…quite a long time ago… and I have only been back for a fleeting visit once since we left. My husband and  I are coming over a few days early and taking some time to explore.  Open to suggestions  *grin*


One final thing…if you are interested in coming to our workshop and would like to purchase a full copy of Scrivener before the workshop, please email Alison alison@alisonstuart.com for details of a special offer on the product which will be available to conference attendees.

We also have some great door prizes for our session!



Thank you, ladies!

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