Thursday, 7 September 2017

Interview with children's author Allison Paterson

Can you tell readers about your latest book?                    Shearing Time is my latest children’s picture book released in March this year. It is a charming tale of a day in the life of a farm kid as the family work together to get the shearing done. From sunrise to sunset there are sheep with attitude, a shed of shearers, dogs with personality and a country kitchen to open the door on the life of a country kid.  http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Children/Shearing-Time-HB/1163/productview.aspx

What is the book’s history to  publication?                        Shearing Time is a companion tale to my 2016 publication Granny’s Place, featuring the same characters, including Granny who makes a cameo appearance baking the scones and telling the shearers to mind their manners. I submitted the manuscript after Granny’s Place was accepted

Why did you choose Big Sky Publishing as your publisher?                                                                      Big Sky Publishing saw the value in my adult non-fiction title Anzac Sons, so they have been the first publisher with which I have worked. They love Australian content and my stories are quintessentially Australian, so it progressed from Anzac Sons to the children’s version and then to the children’s picture books. www.bigskypublishing.com.au

How long did it take from submission of your manuscript to receipt of advance copies?                                                                                                                               I submitted the manuscript in July, 2015 and we had our advance copies in January this year, 2017.

Which editor did you work with at BSP? How was the editing experience for you?         I worked with Sharon Evans at BSP. We were still changing words the day before the typeset version went to the printers. Once Shane created his outstanding illustrations we could take out chunks of text to allow the illustrations to tell the story and bring the tale to life. I look forward to the editing process; it is a chance to polish and I appreciate that BSP involve the author all the way to the end.

Can you tell readers about the book’s illustrator?                                                             Shane McGrath is a talented artist who lives in Melbourne. He worked with me on Granny’s Place, so the characters and style of Shearing Time are consistent. Although he grew up in the city, he also spent a lot of time on family farms just a short drive of an hour or so from the farms of my childhood. He was the perfect choice. Shane realistically captures the colours and landscapes of Australia and rural life with charm and accuracy, he adds humour and connections to his own life as well as mine. I love his work!

Would you recommend Big Sky Publishing to other authors?                                            The team at BSP are terrific. If you have a great Australian story to tell, submit it to BSP.

Have you had success with any of your books?                                                                  I was very honoured when Anzac Sons was long-listed in the ABIA awards and was also a notable in the CBCA awards in 2016.

What are you working on at the moment?                                                                          I am living dangerously, challenging myself and making a genre change to Young Adult historical fiction. This will be a tale that connects the past and the present and draws on both my knowledge of Australian involvement in WWI and, as a teacher, some of the issues that young adults experience today. Understanding your past can guide you to your future…!


Anything else you’d like to add?                                                                                        The manuscript I am working on is being completed with the assistance of the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust and a 2017 Creative Time Fellowship. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to write in Canberra for four weeks where the inspirational and invaluable Australian War Memorial was just up the track!

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