Friday 7 August 2015

#VirtualVoyager : Childhood Daze with Alison Stine

The #VirtualVoyager has been taking place all week to highlight the incredible debut authors, whose work spans genres from Urban Fantasy to Military Sci-Fi, with YA, romance and mystery in the mix. To find out more about Voyager's digital first list,please click here. 

To celebrate Harper Voyager's digital first list, I'm so pleased to be able to welcome author, Alison Stine onto the blog to tell us all about her childhood. 
My first memory is of writing.

Except, I couldn’t write yet. I am two or three and sitting beneath the kitchen table while my parents eat dinner above me, conspicuously ignoring me. I get the sense, thinking about this memory, and also about my life now as a mother, that I have just had a tantrum. And won. And now, instead of eating dinner, I am sitting beneath the table, drawing.
But I want to be writing.

I am drawing under the kitchen table, making my parents’ portraits, I remember, because I don’t know how to write their names. I want to tell their stories — to tell many stories — but I don’t know how to make the words. And when, in fact, I finally do learn to write and read, not too long after this dinner memory — my mother teaches me — I write the only words I know over and over in different combinations: hi you love Alison goodbye.
I guess my first memory is wanting to write.

Now, my child is learning to read. We pull into the parking lot and he spells out S-T-A-R-B-U-C-K-S. When we throw away our napkins, he reads “trash.” He wrote his name, his full name, for the first time just a few months ago, after only writing the first letter for a year. It wasn’t traced. It wasn’t a lesson. He just wrote it, signed his name once, then again. His preschool teachers were so excited. They saved the papers, presented them to me solemnly, hugged me. One of them had tears in her eyes.

This is the magic key, after all. This is the ticket. Now you are never alone. Now you are comforted — and I was, first by Susie and Spottie, then by The Little House on the Prairie books, the Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon books, the Brontes, Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Angela Carter. 

Once you read, you know the world, and many, many others. Then you can make your own world. Publishing my first novel at the exact same time my son learns to read has made the magic so extraordinary, so sharp.

It is magic, I have to remind myself. Writing, and reading, from the very beginning, is nothing short of magic.

Something is wrong with Esmé. Kicked out of school in New York, her sister sends her to live with their grandmother in the small town she hasn’t visited since she was a child.
But something is wrong with the grandmother Ez hasn’t seen for years; she leaves the house at midnight, carrying a big black bag. Something is wrong with her grandmother’s house, a decrepit mansion full of stray cats, stairs that lead to nowhere and beds that unmake themselves.
Something is wrong in the town where a child disappears every year, where a whistle sounds at night but no train arrives. And something is definitely wrong with her cute and friendly neighbour with black curls and ice-blue eyes: he’s dead. 
You can buy SUPERVISION here. 
You can follow Alison online via Twitter @AlisonStine and visit her website.

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