Alison, before I start my interrogation (smile), why don’t you tell us about your debut novel, One Traveler.
Gladly! One Traveler is a historical Young Adult novel set in 1860, the tumultuous year before the Civil War. Speaking of tumultuous, my protagonist, 17-year-old Sidney, is going through some turmoil of his own. His parents have just been killed in a carriage accident. He decides to leave his hometown of Roswell, Georgia, and travel to his father’s hometown in Pennsylvania to stay with his aunt and uncle. Once there, he discovers that they are involved in the Underground Railroad. Since Sid’s parents were slaveholders, he wrestles with the views of his newfound family. He was planning to go home to fight for the South when war begins, but the longer he stays in the North, the more his ideologies seem to be shifting.
You told me that you’ve had the idea for this book tumbling around the back of your head for some time now. C.S. Lewis once said that The Chronicles of Narnia began with his vision of a faun walking through the snow with an umbrella and brown paper-wrapped packages under his arm. When did you first see your main character, Sid, in your mind’s eye? And what did it take to tumble that raw stone into a finished product?
I first saw Sid when I was a 15-year-old girl, so let’s just say my view of him has changed a little bit since then. It took twenty years of working on this manuscript, off and on, to hone it into the masterpiece it is now. At times I would put it away and work on something entirely different. But Sid always called me back and I had to take it out and keep sculpting.
You’re a home-school mom. How do you balance writing with schooling? Do you keep yourself on a schedule, or is it easier to play things by ear?
That is a question I would love to ask someone more seasoned! I’ve been homeschooling all of one month. And my decision to homeschool was one that I made with the consciousness that writing is not as important as my children. The easy answer is that I am a scheduler and a planner. But I try to stay flexible as well. We “do school” most mornings so that we’re free in the afternoons for other things. At this point, I schedule one day a week to focus on writing and writing-related work, as well as working at least one evening when my husband is home to take care of the children.
Finally, for my last interrogation question. Wait… just let me pick up my 1000 watt flashlight here and shine it in your eyes . . . So, what are you making for dinner tonight? And can I come too?
Hmmm . . . I’m glad you asked me about dinner. It’s just about 2pm and I need to go to the grocery store. I was thinking of making poor man’s stroganoff (without mushrooms—yuck!) and you are welcome to come—I would love to see you again!
To learn more about Alison, visit her website: www.alisontreat.com
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