About Lisa Williamson
Lisa is the author of the book, The Art of Being Normal, which I absolutely loved because it has two transgender characters in who are so different yet so lovely in their own ways. It really reminded me of Jacqueline Wilson! She is also the author of All About Mia and her newest book, Paper Avalanche is out in January 2019.You can read more about Lisa here.
What was your inspiration for writing The Art of Being Normal and what part/character was your favourite to write?
I was initially inspired to write about trans teenagers following a two year spell as administrator for the Gender Identity Development Service (the NHS service for young people struggling with gender identity issues) between 2010 and 2012. Having noted a severe lack of transgender protagonists in YA fiction at the time (something which is slowly changing!), I wanted to have a bash at writing something that explored gender identity in a way that reflected the experiences of the young people using the service.
From the very beginning, I wanted to write a book that was about gender identity, but not defined by it, just like the dozens of young people I met. My favourite parts to write were all the horrible bits – the bullying scene and the scene in the woods. I don't know why, but writing really emotionally charged scenes is the most exciting part of writing for me. My favourite character to write was Leo. I loved how gruff yet vulnerable he is.
What made you want to be a writer? Did you know from a young age you were going to write books?
I've always loved stories and from a very early age, I'd make up stories in my head. My first ambition was to be an illustrator and I'd spend hours drawing people and coming up with back stories for them all. As I got older, I developed a love for acting and I sort of forgot about writing for a while! I rediscovered it in my late-twenties when I was temping in offices between acting jobs but it took another six years before I got a publishing deal.
Who is your favourite author/book and why?
I have lots of favourites but one that really stands out is When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. It's clever, funny, inventive and beautifully written.
What's your advice for someone going through writer's block or someone wanting to become a published author?
If you have writer's block the worst thing you can do is stare at your notebook or computer screen and wait for inspiration to hit. Go for a walk, watch a film, do a really mundane domestic task, write something totally different - anything that will take your mind off your project. More often than not, the solution to your problem will present itself when you're least expecting it.
My best advice for aspiring authors is to remind yourself it's not a race. I was 35 when I first got published and I know many authors who were significantly older than that. Writing is a craft and it takes time and hard work to figure out your voice and style. If your destiny is to be a writer, it'll happen. Just stick at it and try to have as much fun with it as possible.
Do you have any plans to write more books/series?
I do! My next book, Paper Avalanche is out in January 2019 and I'm currently working on a fourth novel.
If you had to pick a quote that you had to live by, which one would it be?
'Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today' (Jordan Peterson).
Now, this is a fun question I love. You're stranded on an island and you can only pick 3 people and 3 objects/things to take with you. Who and what would you take?
My boyfriend Dylan, the author Non Pratt and my good friend Ash. They're three of the most interesting and inventive people I know. Plus, they're positive thinkers (a handy trait on a desert island!). In terms of items, I'd go for pen and paper (can that count as one, please?), sunscreen (I'll burn to a crisp otherwise), and a hammock.
I hope you all enjoyed this author interview and I'll see you next week! Love, Vee x