What five words best describe you?
Busy, disorganised, friendly, animated, disciplined.
How did you get started in this industry?
I started writing fiction when I was about 25, just to see if I could. I was working as a features writer on a national magazine and decided that I would write romance novels because ‘that made sense’. But, four full manuscripts, two non-fiction books and three ghost-written books later, my first published novel was children’s fiction. I started writing a story that came from two conversations I had with my eldest son (then nine) and it became a four-book series called The Mapmaker Chronicles.
Is there any part of the creative process you don’t like?
Not really. The creative stuff is why I’m here. Making stuff up is the best job ever.
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to catch the eye of a publisher?
Honestly, be yourself. Publishers are looking for YOUR voice. Not a copy of someone else’s voice. Not a ‘writerly’ voice that you think you need to put on to create a novel. Your voice. So write like you talk, only better.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? (Plotter =Plotting out your manuscript before you write it. / Pantser = Putting pen to paper and plotting as you go along)
I am a pantser but that comes with a caveat. When I first started writing fiction I was a full pantser, but now I create a bit of an outline before I begin. Writing series fiction means that you have to keep several story arcs in mind while you write, so having an idea where you’re going to end up is always a good idea.
What excites you about the future of children’s books?
Everything. Every year Australian authors are creating the most wonderful stories and I’m so thrilled that I get to be part of that.
What’s the funniest thing a child has ever said to you during one of your presentations/talks?
Kids are hilarious. They always want to know two things: how old I am and how much I earn. The various ways they go about getting to those two questions make me laugh every time. My answers: ‘Not as old as you think’ and ‘Not as much as I’d like’.
What’s next from Allison Tait?
Well, my new book, THE BOOK OF ANSWERS, is out on 27 March 2018, so that’s very exciting. It’s the second Ateban Cipher novel and it takes up where THE BOOK OF SECRETS left off and, as the title suggests, has a few answers for readers – including the answer to the big one: why would you write a book that no-one can read?
You can find out more here: allisontait.com/the-ateban-cipher