Hey Everyone I am super excited to be able to interview the extraordinary Alison Evans. Alison is an incredible author who is well known for their books Ida and Highway Bodies. Their book Ida won the People’s Choice Award at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2017!
I find Alison to be an inspirational author because of how Highway Bodies has wonderful representation of bisexual and non-binary characters and how Ida delves into deep topics such as making the right life choices and being confident that you’re on the right path and it takes the readers on a journey to a parallel universe!
Alison has been extremely busy but still managed to make some time to answer my questions about their work and what it’s like to be an amazing author, which I’m extremely grateful for, so I can share it with you.
Here are the questions and answers:
Q: How long did it take you to get your first book published from when you started writing it?
A: I actually just wrote a blog post about this! I wrote ten books before getting Ida published, and Ida was the third book I wrote. The first draft of Ida was written in 2011, and then Ida was published in 2017.
Q: Can you tell us about your 2 books? What ages would you recommend them for and who would love them?
A:Ida is about a girl who can go back to any choice she’s made and make a different decision. When she starts doing this too much, she starts to see shadowy doppelgangers of herself. Highway Bodies is about three different groups of teenagers who find themselves at the start of a zombie apocalypse and have to band together to survive.
They are written for ages 15+ but I think anyone who likes to read about found families, a little bit of spookiness, and queer people would like them.
Q: I love seeing that you have bisexual and non-binary characters in your books! Why do you feel it’s so important?
A: I’m bisexual and non-binary and there were very few books that I read as a teen that represented this. (I didn’t read about a non-binary character until I was 24.) I want teens to be able to see themselves on the page, to know they aren’t alone.
Q: What has been your favorite scene to write out of Highway Bodies?
A: I can’t choose one! But my top three would be
1. where Dawn and Eve meet for the first time and their lives slot together like jigsaw pieces
2. when Jojo and Rhea kill a zombie for the first time
3. the ending, which I won’t write about because of spoilers! I love how it all came together.
Q: You also write short stories. What has been one of your favourite short stories to write?
A: Again, so hard to choose! But I think it would have to be Sky Children, which was published in Concrete Queers 7. It’s set in the near-future and the city is very polluted, but people still are able to find connection and love.
Q: So you do workshops have you had any funny, embarrassing or just straight up awkward moments you’d be willing to share with us?
A: Not yet! I have only done a few so far. I guess the most embarrassing thing is when I am talking but forget to breathe! I still get a bit nervous speaking to a room when I’m the only one talking.
Speed questions all the same for each Author:
Q: What are you writing at the moment?
A: I am about to start what will hopefully be my fourth YA book published, Sky Runners. It’s about super-powered teens in the future.
Q: What’s your favourite ice cream flavour?
A: Mint choc-chip!
Q: What’s one of your favourite pieces of poetry you have written?
A: I wrote terrible poetry more than ten years ago. I can’t remember any of it! I much prefer to read other people’s work.
Q: How long did it take you to write your Book?
A: It’s hard to say. With Ida I wrote the whole first draft in a month, and I think with Highway Bodies it was about two or three. The editing is the longest part for me.
Q: Who is your favourite or most inspirational Author?
A: I love Jorge Luis Borges. He wrote fantastic short stories that explore huge concepts in just a couple of pages.
Q: Do you prefer cats or dogs?
A: Cats, but I’m biased because I have a cat. Dogs are good too.
AA: It’s okay we can still be friends ;)
Q: Do you prefer reading e-Books or hard books?
A: I do love reading hard books, but e-books are also really convenient.
Q: Where’s your favourite place to write?
A: I have a desk at home which is set up so I can write without hurting my back, so that is my favourite place! But I also love writing in cafes, I just can’t do it for very long.
Q: Do you remember the first book you ever read? OR if not, what’s your fave childhood book you loved to read.
A: Harry Potter was my whole life when I was young. I read the first book when I was 11 and then the last book came out when I was 17, so I was the same age as Harry. It was the best.
AA: Harry Potter is AWESOME!!
Q: What’s your biggest achievement so far?
A: It’s hard to say. I’m really proud of the things I’ve done. I think my next book, Euphoria Kids, is a pretty big achievement. It’s about three trans kids who become friends, and it’s a very quiet book. I’m really grateful that Echo are publishing it.
Q: Do you have any big goals for the future or any new poetry being released soon?
A: I really want to be able to do more school visits and workshops. I find workshops really rewarding, I love teaching.
Q: Do you have any advice for young writers and poets.
A: Just keep going! Believe in yourself, and you can do it.
AA: Amazing advice!