AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Allison Paterson
Allison, who’s also a local Sunshine Coaster and a lovely writing friend, recently released her latest book, Australia Remembers:Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials.
The book is published by Big Sky Publishing, and is no doubt going to be a huge hit with primary school teachers and other educators, not to mention parents, looking for supporting materials to help educate children about our country’s wartime history and remembrance.
Let’s learn more about Allison’s new book and her writing life…
Can you tell us a bit about your book, and the themes/issues it explores?
Australia Remembers: Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials presents a detailed explanation of the origins and traditions of Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, exploring both their connections and significance to young Australians today.
The colourful traditions and symbols of these special days are described in language that is easily accessible to younger readers, helping them to understand what they mean and how important it is to remember those Australians who have fought for their country, and those who keep us safe today.
It is designed specifically for the Year 1-3 curriculum but is pitched for all Primary-age children and includes a chapter on the Australian War Memorial. It is the first in the Australia Remembers series with Australia Remembers: Customs and Traditions of the Australian Defence Force, to be released next April, thanks to the team at Big Sky Publishing!
How do you hope readers will connect with the book, and/or what do you want them to take away from it?
Young readers are invited to reflect, and never forget, as they investigate the commemorative role and history of the countless memorials spread across Australia and beyond. It includes quotes from children and service personnel on the personal significance of Anzac Day and Remembrance Day. It is designed to ensure that the next generation shares the history and traditions of these important occasions.
What influences do you think shape your writing?
My books share common themes and connections of family, Anzacs, the Australian landscape, rural life and the past. I was once a farm kid and have endearing memories of this lifestyle and the experiences it brings, especially as a family. It has a huge influence on my writing.
As for writing about the past, I’ve been stuck there since I was a kid, most of my huge reading list was historical and Australian History was my favourite subject – I adored Seven Little Australians!
Biggest challenges in writing this story, or in getting it published?
I love research and writing so there was no challenge to the writing process. I enjoy seeing a concept come to life and watch it evolve as ideas start to flow. The BSP design team were amazing and this book really is a collaborative effort!
Do you have any suggestions on ways parents, teachers, librarians, booksellers and readers can get more out of the book?
Australia Remembers has in-built discussion starters and contains full colour images to support the facts and narrative, along with activities and breakout boxes. All these elements ensure an engaging read for young readers with appeal for both children and educators.
There are specific activities included in the final pages and these are supported by comprehensive teacher notes which are available on my website, or in the teacher pages at Big Sky Publishing.
Can you let us in on any sneak peeks into your next books or other projects?
Love to! Follow After Me is an empowering young adult novel about finding a lost part of yourself in the spirit, words and actions of those who came before. Yep, it’s about family, Anzacs, the Australian landscape, rural life and the past!
This time though there are two coming-of-age protagonists, one of today and one enduring the events of World War I. It is written in a parallel narrative that converges with the discovery of a collection of WWI letters and a growing sense of connection to place that cannot be ignored. Do you believe in ghosts? Follow After Me will be released early next year and is with the awesome Big Sky Publishing team. Here’s a snippet from the blurb:
A war to end all wars, a tiny key and a rural Australian property that binds across the generations. Two young women living a century apart discover who they are and where their hearts belong.
Where do you do your writing, and do you have any particular rituals in your creative process?
I am most creative in our lovely study with a window overlooking my herb garden. Last summer I had hourly visits from the solitary blue-banded native bee who loved my purple basil flowers – not great for moments of procrastination though.
I can’t sit down to work without a bottle of water and a cup of tea!
Do you have some tips for other creatives?
Self-doubt leads to procrastination and truly stifles creativity. There are times when other people can unintentionally feed that doubt. Don’t let negative thoughts master you - sets goals and celebrate successes, believe in your work, surround yourself by people who believe in you and write your words, let them flow.
You can connect with Allison on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/allisonmarlowpaterson