Hi, I’m Aleesah Darlison. I write picture books and novels for children. Being an author is the best job in the world. I love it!
Question 1: What was the first story you ever wrote and has it been published?
At the start of my career, I wrote lots of stories and many of them will never be published because they missed the mark. However, one of the first stories I did have published was There’s Magic at Pa’s. It appeared in a magazine called Little Ears, which was edited by Di Bates.
Question 2: What was your first book published?
A picture book called Puggle’s Problem, which was published by Wombat Books.
Question 3: What is your favourite part about being an author?
Being able to create characters and stories from ideas that come from inside my imagination then sharing them with other people.
Question 4:What is the hardest part about being an author?
Managing writing time with marketing time and family time. There’s never enough hours in the day.
Question 5: What do you do for fun?
Spend time with my family. Go to restaurants and eat yummy food. Make myself go to the gym for some ‘me’ time and some exercise.
Question 6: How do you test out your stories? Or who do you test them on?
By reading them out aloud, creating dummy books, sometimes reading them to my children, and running them by my agent or editor. Professional, third-party feedback is always the most valuable.
Question 7: What was your favourite children’s book when you were a kid?
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
Question 8: What is your favourite children’s book now?
I’m loving my new picture book, Little Meerkat, at the moment. It’s published by Wombat Books and illustrated by Shannon Melville who is doing an AWESOME job.
Question 9: Have you ever travelled overseas as an author?
Yes, I was a guest speaker at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival in 2011 and in 2012 I returned to Hong Kong to conduct school visits. I’m looking at going back there in 2014 and possibly also Singapore. Of course, I’m always willing to consider invitations from other countries, too…
Question 10: Have you met anyone even more famous than you that was exciting?
When I was first starting out as an author, I always got extremely nervous meeting well-known authors. My palms would get sweaty, my throat would constrict and I’d have trouble talking. I just admired those authors so much and thought I would never, ever be as famous or as successful as they were. Thank goodness my nerves and my confidence have improved and luckily I’ve enjoyed my own small successes so I’m not so bad anymore.
Question 11: What writing genre do you like to do the most?
That’s hard to say. I love writing picture books that feature animals and I love writing fantasy adventure for older children. It’s all good fun.
Question 12: What do you consider your biggest achievement?
Achieving publication and creating a career out of what I love doing most in the world.
Question 13: Where do you see the future of children’s books (ebooks/apps/print)?
I hope paper books are going to stick around for a long time to come, but with the way technology is going and how kids interact with the digital world, I think we will start to view and read more and more books on-screen.
Question 14: What is your favourite time to read?
Anytime is a good time to escape into a book. I’d read all day if I could. When I was a kid I used to get in trouble for reading so much.
Question 15: What book are you reading right now?
The Power of One (children’s version) by Bryce Courtenay.