So You Want To Be A Writer: Update

Posted on May 23, 2016

scwcpolaroid altaitYesterday I took a deep breath, climbed on stage as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival Live And Local program in Wollongong, and did my first official Reading from The Mapmaker Chronicles. I know this sounds strange – the first book has been out for 18 months now (wow, where did that time go?) and I’ve done a thousand* school talks and workshops, panel discussions and presentations.

But never a Reading. Capital R intentional.

It was a monumental occasion. Of course, I had NO idea what to do, what to read. So I did what I feel I do best. I sat in a chair, I talked about ideas and inspiration and writing, and then I read a five-minute passage from the first book in the series, Race To The End Of The World.

In the end, I chose a passage that seemed to tie in best with the feeling that inspired the books in the first place – that sense of insignificance when we stare out into space, that idea of not knowing where the edges are, that sense of head-hurting wonder as we start to imagine what might be out there.

It seemed to go well. So much so, that I even allowed a rare photograph of myself to be taken (see above). Big thanks to the South Coast Writers’ Centre for inviting me to be part of it!

Afterwards, I was talking to an author friend. She has just discovered So You Want To Be A Writer, the podcast that I co-host with Valerie Khoo.

“I’m not really a podcast person,” she admitted. “Usually they’re so boring, but yours is really good.”

Colour me chuffed.

This morning, while I was busily recording the podcast with Valerie, I realised that I am sometimes a bit lax in sharing updates here on the blog about it. So I thought I’d put links here to some recent episodes containing interviews that I really enjoyed doing and that listeners have told us they found really entertaining and useful.

Natasha Lester – we discussed not only Natasha’s first foray into historical fiction, but how to mix writing and family

Meg McKinlay – most recently, Meg’s book ‘A Single Stone’ won the 2015 Aurealis Award for Children’s Fiction, and was shortlisted for a CBCA Book Of The Year Award. We discussed everything from poetry to how a writing career can happen ‘accidentally’.

Andrew Faulkner – simply a cracking interview about writing biography and narrative non-fiction. I had not imagined military history could be quite so interesting…

Jen Storer – multi-published and award-winning children’s author Jen is simply charming, with a comprehensive and practical knowledge of the industry.

Adrian McKinty – this interview with the Australian-based Irish crime/thriller writer is quite simply one of my favourites to date.

I hope you’ll have a listen. Even if you’re not really a podcast person…


*may have only felt like a thousand


  1. Lisa

    Congratulations Al! I have decided you need to come over to WA for the Margaret River Writer’s Festival next year & share some writer workshops (It is on next weekend 4th/5th June 2016) and drink wine with us all. Your podcasts with Val are definitely NOT boring.

  2. Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life

    I absolutely love your podcasts. I managed to catch up on all of them by the end of last year and it was almost disappointing because it meant I had to wait a week for the new one like everyone else! There’s so much to learn from the podcasts but I must confess, I’m yet to put a lot into practice. I blog but haven’t been able to do much else, partly due to fear of failure/rejection, partly due to my work. I’ve recently been trying to write on the train as recommended a couple of podcasts ago. Thanks to you and Valerie again for bringing a smile each week 🙂

    • Allison Tait

      Aw, thanks Sanch – you made my day! 🙂

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