I recently read a book called ‘The Mapmaker Chronicles: Race to the End of the World’. it was an interesting book about adventure and a young boy called Quinn. I got the chance to interview the author of this amazing book, her name is A.L Tait, this is our interview….
Skye: When did you start writing?
A.L Tait: I first started writing when I first went to school because I became a journalist. So I used to write feature articles. And I did that for a really long time until I started writing fiction, probably about 20 years ago.
Skye: Quinn seemed quite reluctant to go on adventures. Does that relate to you as a kid at all?
A.L Tait: That totally relates to me as a kid. Because when I thought about how I would feel if somebody came up to me and said, “I want to put you on a ship and send you out into the unknown and I’m pretty certain you may not come back.” I thought about how would I respond to that.
And my first response would be, “Thank you very much, but I’m okay where I am.” So I think that was why Quinn’s first response was that. Because characters are always a little bit you and then they’re a little bit people that you know. And then they just become themselves as you write them.
Skye: Did you like writing when you were at primary school?
A.L.Tait: I did. I’ve always really liked writing and it was always one of those things that I was good at. So I think that you’ve always liked things that you’re good at, don’t you think? But I think that the reason I liked it and the reason I was good at it was because I used to read. I have always read lots and lots of books. So I think when you read lots and lots of books, it kind of somehow makes story writing easier.
Skye: Who is your favourite author?
A.L. Tait: So that’s a really hard question. Lots of kids when I go to schools they ask me that question. And I find it so hard to answer because I read so many books and I have so many favourites. But I do love the Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan. And I do love the Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. And I do love the Harry Potter series. And I read it regularly.
Skye: I play an instrument and I have to practise a lot. Do you have to practise in writing?
A.L. Tait: Yes you do. Writing is one of those things. It’s just playing an instrument or it’s just like trying to build your muscles up, where if you do it regularly, if you do it a little bit every day you just get better and better and better at it.
So I do write a lot. I’m usually working on something and something new. And it’s just like anything. The more you do something, the better you get at it.
Skye: In your books, you don’t mention if you’re a boy or a girl. Is there a reason for that?
A.L. Tait: It’s not so much that I don’t want to necessarily want people to know if I’m a boy or a girl. So there’s a couple of things that are happening there. One is that the names of my books tend to be very, very long. So you have the Mapmaker Chronicles, Race to the End of the World, or you have The Book of Secrets. So I was kind of looking for a name that would be shorter on the cover to help balance out all those very long names.
The second reason that I am A.L. Tait instead of Allison Tait, I have been on Twitter for a long time. And my Twitter name is Al Tait because that’s what everyone calls me. Al Tait. So when it came to coming up with a name for my books, I thought I would just go with Al Tait because that was already there. It’s just A.L. Tait. So that’s why it’s A.L. Tait.