Allison writes fiction, non-fiction and features - and writes regularly about writing, life and .... whimsy at allisontait.com. The Mapmaker Chronicles, her first series for children (9+), will launch on 14 October 2014, with book one: The Race to the End of The World. I'm a regular reader of her blog which is a lovely community for writers, both new and established. I have also become a huge fan of her podcasts, So you want to be a writer, co-hosted by Valerie Khoo for Australian Writers' Centre, which feature tips, insights, motivation and interviews with writers from around the world - well worth checking out.
I was 29 and it was a romance novel - aimed at Mills & Boon. I was working in magazines at the time and thought that romance novels made complete sense for me. I'd read hundreds of them in my late teens, they had a specific market, and they were relatively short. What could possibly go wrong? As it turned out, quite a lot and it wasn't until I won a mentor in a competition that I was gently steered in the direction of broader women's fiction. "I think you have too much to say for a category romance novel," were her exact, diplomatic words.
I've worked in various roles in magazine publishing (editorial assistant, sub-editor, features writer, features editor) almost my entire career, apart from three memorable months as a (very bad) receptionist for a homewares company.
After I received those gentle words from my mentor, I turned my attention to longer manuscripts and I've since written two for adults, one of which got very close to publication, and two of which I'm still reworking. I've also, now, written 2.5 children's novels, my series called The Mapmaker Chronicles - the first of which, Race To The End Of The World, will be published in October 2014, and the last of which (the 0.5) is nearly at complete first draft stage. The children's series has been THE MOST FUN I've ever had with writing and I'm keen to do more of it.
I've written a lot of stuff on my blog over the years but it all boils down to three things: