A.L gets emails and letters from kids all over the world and most of them want the same questions answered! So here’s a list of some of the most common questions and their answers, just in case you were wondering…
Where were you born?
In Madang, Papua New Guinea!
What was your favourite book as a kid?
I read SO many books as a kid that it’s hard to choose just one. I really loved Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series, as well as the Trixie Belden books, and read every book in both of those series.
Do you have any kids?
Yes, I have two boys, currently aged 9 and 12.
Do you have any pets?
Yes, I have a border collie. His pen name is Procrastipup. He’s very cute.
ABOUT BEING A WRITER
Did you always want to be a writer?
No, I wanted to be a famous actor. But then I discovered that most actors spend a lot of their time waiting on tables, and I wasn’t a very good waiter. So I became a journalist instead.
Why did you become a writer?
I discovered it was the one thing I was really good at. Also, the one thing I like to do the most.
When did you start writing books?
I didn’t really start until I was in my mid-20s. I wrote things at school, and even had a poem about the ANZACS published in my local paper when I was 10, but I didn’t realise I could be an author for a long time. I thought it was something that other, much cleverer, people did. Then one day I decided to have a crack to see if I could.
What’s your best advice for young writers?
Have a crack to see if you can. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.
When was your first book published?
Unfortunately, that’s a secret! My first book was ghost-written for someone else and I can’t tell you any more about it than that. I CAN tell you that my first novel for children was published in October 2014 and was called The Mapmaker Chronicles: Race To The End Of The World.
Do you have any new books coming out?
Yes! Book #4 of The Mapmaker Chronicles series will be published in April 2017, and then I have a brand-new adventure series, with completely new characters in a completely new world, starting in October 2017!
Where do you get your ideas from?
As a journalist, I’ve learned to listen hard to what people are talking about, to take note of things I read and to think hard about what I see. Ideas are all around us and writers are people who’ve trained themselves to see them.
Where did you get the idea for The Mapmaker Chronicles?
Both of my boys are fans of the ‘head-hurting’ question. We have long-and-involved conversations about where space ends, how high the stars are, whether there are any places in the world that remain unexplored, which dwarf from The Hobbit I would invite to a dinner party… you get the idea. Several of those chats, close together, led to an idea that made me tingle all over.
“How far does space go?” asked Mr12 (then nine), one night.
“Nobody knows,” I answered.
Then the next night, he asked: “How did they map the world?”
“Well, they had to go out there and find out,” I answered, distractedly.
“They must have been brave,” he said.
“They were,” I said, having a moment of Mum Inspiration. “They would have felt exactly the way we feel when we look out into space, not knowing how far it goes or what’s out there.”
And just like that, in my mind I saw a race to map the world, and a boy who really didn’t want to go.
Where do you write?
I’m very lucky to live in the country in an old weatherboard house surrounded by gorgeous green gardens. I write in my study.
What do you use to write your books?
I write my novels on an Apple computer, using Microsoft Word.
How do you write a book?
I usually try to avoid answering this question because the answer is so… dull. The truth is that the only way to write a book is to sit down and write one. You write and you write and you write. It takes a long time and a lot of practice to learn how to do it right.