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!
Hey everyone today I’ve written about the incredible Graham Bebington! Graham writes and tells crazy stories for the purpose of just making kids laugh and have fun, he’s really making a difference in kids’ lives through literature, he believes that all good stories need a “bum” and he’s on a mission to encourage all kids to love reading and writing. Graham also illustrates his own books as well!
I believe Graham is a truly inspirational author because his books are funny and entertaining and he is really making a difference in kids’ lives.
I did message Graham and ask if he would be available to do an interview but he lives is Queensland, which is a little too far from Perth to manage a face to face interview but he amazingly offered to answer my questions via email.
Thank you very much Graham for your time!
These are the Questions that I asked and his responses:
Q: Why do you love making kids laugh and smile so much in your books?
A: If children are able to smile or laugh it enables them to enjoy their experiences. This is really important especially for children who are not confident when they read.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to be an author?
A: Definitely not! Writing is something that compliments my profession as a Teacher Librarian. When children come into my library, I want them to see that anybody, but especially teachers also love to be creative and we can also write books. So I guess it’s important to practice what we preach.
Q: What has been your favorite part about doing workshops?
A: I live to see children excited about reading and realising that everyone can achieve their dreams. I speak about how I struggled as a child to read and write and I think that a lot of children resonate with this, because so many children struggle with literacy, but they just don’t like to admit it or they might feel embarrassed because they are not great readers. I let them know that this is okay, but practice does make perfect.
Q: You do a lot of workshops, I bet you’ve had lots of funny or embarrassing moments; can you share one with us?
A: I went to a school few weeks ago and they had no idea I was coming. When they realised they had made the mistake and forgot to add it on their calendar, the entire school timetable was quickly adjusted and I had a great day there. It is also funny when kids fart in the audience. This happens quite often.
Q: Which character in your books do you feel that you connected the most with and had the most fun creating?
A: Definitely Fred Do-it. He is a little selfish (like most of us) but he realises that this is not going to help him much. He also dresses weird. I used to wear weird stuff as well in my younger days.
Q: Do you base your characters off people you meet or do you create them yourself?
A: Probably a little of both. But I guess that bumpires are imaginary and Princess Stinkalot is everything that a princess should not be. So I guess I do make characters up.
Q: Where did the inspiration for Fred Do-It’s wacky plan really fails come from?
A: I wanted to write a story that kids would relate to and be able to laugh. I also wanted to include aspects of narrative within the story so that children could learn about the parts of stories that are important like problems, settings, building suspense and the importance of characters.
Q Your new book was released just a few months ago, can you tell me what that has been like for you?
A: It has been exciting. It is a difficult journey and not something you do for the money. Writing is something that is done because you love writing. I have recently ordered my second 500 prints so this is cool. If they sell I will have sold over 1000 books. Pretty amazing really.
Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
A: Walked through a pitch dark storm water drain and smashed my tooth out. Served me right for doing such a dumb thing.
I feel like I have more questions about this one!!! ^^
Speed questions all the same for each Author:
Q What are you writing at the moment?
A My second Fred Do-it book.
Q What’s your favourite ice cream flavour?
A Salted caramel.
Q What’s one of your favourite books/stories you have written?
A I’ve only written one, so it’s my favourite so far.
Q How long did it take you to write your Book?
A 5 years.
Q Who is your favourite or most inspirational Author?
A Sally Rippen ... I love Polly and Buster. Beautiful writer!
Q Do you prefer cats or dogs?
Q Do you prefer reading e-Books or hard books?
A Hard-copy books for sure.
Q Where’s your favourite place to write?
A At my sit stand desk.
Q Do you remember the first book you ever read? OR if not, what’s your fave childhood book you loved to read.
A 3001 jokes for kids
Q What’s your biggest achievement so far?
A Marrying a beautiful person and raising three special girls.
Q Do you have any big goals for the future or any new writing or art being released soon?
A Writing book 2!!!
Q Do you have any advice for young writers.
A Never give up. The first draft is essential. Just get it out your brain ... even if it’s brain vomit, it can always be turned into something amazing.