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Friendly area is hardly fictional

*What it's like:

Located within the Town of Amherst, East Amherst is a mostly suburban area made up of family-friendly subdivisions that feature winding roads and cul de sacs.

*What makes it unique:

Since East Amherst doesn't have a central meeting place, one might think it lacks a sense of community. However, residents say that sense of community is easy to find By involvement in schools, sports and churches.

*Places to go:

East Amherst has many stores, shops and restaurants. Some businesses include Grover's Bar and Grill and Niagara County Produce.

*A person you should know:

Engineer, full-time mom and writer, Alison Stone is a Buffalo native who moved to East Amherst from the Village of Williamsville about nine years ago. After graduating from Georgia Tech, she moved back to Western New York and worked as a manufacturing engineer until shortly after the birth of her second child.

In addition to her involvement with the PTA, where she served as co-president of the Dodge PTA and the Casey Middle PTSA, she also is a catechist at her church, teaching religious education.

After freelancing for local publications, Stone decided to try her hand at fiction and completed five manuscripts before selling two of them this summer. Her romantic suspense novels are scheduled to be released in April and August 2012 By Samhain Publishing.


>Q: What changes have you noticed in East Amherst since you moved there?

A: When we first moved in, my neighborhood was still under construction. I had to push the stroller around dirt piles and construction vehicles. While my neighborhood is finished, I see new developments crop up here and there. On the corner of Transit and Casey, a nursery was replaced By a CVS and Aldi. We now have a Tim Hortons and Starbucks close by. It seems that the commercialism on Transit is slowly moving north. The convenience of having local businesses right around the corner is great, but sometimes I'm sad to see an old farmhouse or nursery disappear.

>Q: How does an engineer become a novelist?

A: I got a degree in engineering because I always liked math. I enjoyed my career but once I started a family I decided I wanted to become a full-time mom. Then I saw an article in a magazine about writing children's books. I was intrigued By the idea, and although I never did write a children's book, I did have success writing articles for local magazines and other publications. I then tried my hand at fiction, and now have two romantic suspense novels coming out.

>Q: How has your family reacted to your romance novels?

A: My family has been very supportive of my career. My kids always ask me if I "got my words in" today. My husband asks me when I'm going to write my Harry Potter. One can dream, right? Most people don't know I'm a writer. When it does come up, they are very surprised to learn I write novels. Then when they hear the word romance, they raise their eyebrows and smile. My books are romance, but they tend toward sweet. I hope my daughters will read them someday.

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