Copyright Clancy Tucker (c)
Quote of the day:
"A community is not the sum of what can be got out of it,
but the sum of what is put into it."
Today I welcome Aleesah Darlison as my Australian guest author. Aleesah is also an ambassador for the 2012 National Year of Reading for Greater Taree City Libraries and co-founder of Literature Live. Welcome, Aleesah.
- Guest Author
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I grew up in country NSW. I’d loved books all my life and from my teens I wanted to be a writer. But I was always told it was too hard to get published, that I’d never make it. After I left school, I started marketing at uni, but in my spare time I was always writing. It wasn’t until about six years ago I decided to finally try to make writing into a career. Luckily, I did. In the last two years I’ve had fourteen books published and I have five more due for publication in the next eighteen months.
WERE YOU A GOOD READER AS A KID?
Yes, I always had a book in my hand and used to get in trouble for reading so much!
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I had two kids at home (I now have three) and wanted to do something that might stimulate my mind and also earn me an income while I cared for them. I’ve since found that WRITING is a job you can do at home, but PROMOTING your books actually requires quite a bit of travel.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Creating stories that kids enjoy.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Finding the time and energy to do everything the ‘business’ of being an author requires, plus still give time to a young family.
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I was a marketing manager, working in financial organisations and insurance companies. A far cry from the creative life I lead now!
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Having a six book (series) deal picked up by Walker Books. Walker are fantastic to work with and my Unicorn Riders series has been very successful to date.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I’m currently writing books 7 and 8 in my Unicorn Riders series for Walker Books.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Kids and books. Kids for the amazing, incredible, funny, creative things they come out with. Books for all the wonderful things they teach us and the joy their stories hold.
WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I write picture books for younger children plus contemporary fiction and fantasy adventure stories for primary school aged children.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Never give up writing or submitting stories even if you receive loads of rejections, because you never know what’s around the corner.
DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Not usually. If there is something I’m struggling with, I might go for a walk to mull it over, or do some brainstorming or free writing to get ideas flowing. You just have to keep working the idea or problem and sooner or later, the right words come.
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
In a perfect world, I’d sit down to write the moment my kids were at school and I wouldn’t stop until it was pick up time. But that rarely happens with so many other commitments in life, including author school visits. Usually, I write whenever and where ever I have a spare moment and sometimes I work all night if I have a deadline.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
My study where everything is close and handy and I can usually have some peace and quiet.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Seeing my manuscript turned into a ‘proper book’ – it always amazes me the transformation a work undergoes once it’s in book form – and reading that book for the first time and being entertained by it. Then hoping others will be too!
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
Alexander Cordell, he wrote the “Mortymer Trilogy” which was set in Wales in the 1800s. Cordell’s characters seem so alive to me and his stories are terribly heartbreaking and real.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
“I really loved your book.” That’s great feedback to hear from any kid.
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
There haven’t been any negative comments at all, only a spelling mistake picked up once that the editor and I missed!
WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
All the time. Because I write for children, I often look back to my childhood to see what influenced me then and what experiences I went through. Then I build or blend them into my stories giving them a modern-day take.
HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
I’ve had fourteen books published in the last two years and have five more books due
out in the next eighteen months.
HAVE YOU WON ANY PRIZES OR AWARDS?
My picture book, Warambi, was shortlisted for the 2012 CBCA Eve Pownall (Non-Fiction) Award and also shortlisted for the 2012 Wilderness Society Environmental Award for Children’s Literature. In 2009, I won an ASA mentorship working with Kate Forsyth to develop one of my manuscripts and in that same year I came runner-up in the CBCA Frustrated Writers Mentorship Program. I’ve also won numerous prizes for my short stories.
WHAT DID THEY MEAN TO YOU?
Winning prizes and commendations and having short stories and articles published in magazines and newspapers really kept me writing and hoping that one day I would truly make it as a published author (in book form). There were times I felt like giving up and then I would win some encouragement along the way that told
me my writing was good and that I should stick with the career path I’d chosen.
OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
My kids, my husband, my family, my friends and food!
DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
No, I just made them as good as I could and then sent them off. I have had to go through editing processes (with my publishers/editors), but I think that’s normal.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Kids off to school, dogs (and me) walked, sit down at computer and have six straight hours to imagine, dream and write.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
To continue writing and promoting my books, to work on some longer novels and hopefully keep producing more books in the Unicorn Riders series, which I absolutely love.
Aleesah's contact points:
Thanks, Aleesah. Appreciate you dropping by. Now, grab the dog and go for a long walk. Love ya work! - CT
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