Meet Alison Lloyd
Last Friday I travelled to Kyneton on the train and Alison’s latest book, The Bushranger’s Boys (from the Do you Dare Series) was my travelling companion. And what good company this book proved to be! As the train weaved a snakey path through rural Victoria, I was swept up in this fast paced, exciting adventure set in NSW in 1841. With the strong Australian themes of freedom, justice and mateship, this story really brings colonial Australia to readers ( 8 – 12 yrs) in a vivid and dramatic way. The Do You Dare Series is the new companion to the Our Australian Girl Series (Alison writes the Letty stories in this series). The Bushrangers Boys is a book that’s sure to attract boys, but judging from our discussion at The Writer’s Club this week, the girls who had read this book, gave it the big thumbs up! After all, great stories told well, transcend all boundaries.
Alison Lloyd is one of our guest presenters at The Writer’s Masterclass on July 3rd. Along with author/illustrator Andrew Plant, she will be working with aspiring young writers from 7 – 12 years. In her workshop, writers will use primary sources such as old newspapers and drawings to research Australian colonial history as a setting, brainstorm characters and quandaries, and spin tales of times gone by. I find historical fiction so intriguing and I know many young writers do too, so I’m really looking forward to this workshop!
Today Alison Lloyd visits the blog to answer
Ten Quick Questions!
Where is your favourite place to write?
Usually my desk – it’s quiet and there’s plenty of space for spreading bits of paper around.
Who is your favourite author?
When I was a child, it was CS Lewis, who wrote the Narnia books. And Rosemary Sutcliffe, and Ursula LeGuin, then Jane Austen and Charles Dickens and George Elliot and Tim Winton, then Deltora Quest, and Paul Jennings and JK Rowling and Eoin Colfer and…I read A LOT.
What is one of your favourite childhood memories?
Playing dressups with my sister and my friends. I always liked pretending to be someone else, usually a princess. Nobody ever wanted to be Cinderella’s ugly sisters.
Name one essential item you keep on your desk.
Scribble pad and pen.
What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
Sunlight. Grey days make me grumpy.
What was the best birthday present you ever received?
When I was about 10, I got a phone call on my birthday to say I had won a raffle. My mum had bought the ticket without telling me. The prize was a doll, dressed in a handmade costume as Queen Elizabeth the First. She was gorgeous, in brown velvet with a high lace collar and pearls sewn into her hair.
Characters in stories sometimes have special talents or powers. If you could choose an amazing talent or power for yourself, what would it be?
I would like to fly. That would be awesome.
How do you collect and organise your story ideas?
Ideas are mischievous little imps and don’t like to be organized. The best thing you can do is put them down on paper and let them play around. The one that yells the loudest and jumps in the most directions is probably the one to pick for the next story.
What is the best thing about becoming a writer?
When someone tells you how your book touched them. Then you know you have got a little piece of their heart and they have a piece of yours.
What do you find most challenging about being a writer?
The hardest thing is to keep going when you doubt yourself, when you are afraid that the story will never be any good. I tell myself that I’m not JK Rowling or Andy Griffiths, but I have something worthwhile of my own to say.
Thanks for visiting the blog today Alison and we look forward to learning just how to skillfully blend fact and fiction at The Writer’s Masterclass!
Alison Lloyd writes stories with a historical setting, both fiction and non-fiction. She has written eight books for children, including the Letty stories in the popular Our Australian Girl series. Wicked Warriors and Evil Emperors was shortlisted by the Children’s Book Council for its entertaining account of China’s First Emperor.
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