Interview with Allie Mokany

What's the story behind your latest book?
I am a great fan of hand-me downs, and as a youngest child I was always the one to receive the well-worn, much loved dresses. I loved the sense history that each dress had, some were from my cousins and I had watched them wear them to their formals and birthday parties. We have a tradition in our family of having a different colour theme for each Christmas, so this story was inspired both by the colours of Christmas and all the hand- me downs I had received.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing as a child, I think my first story that I can remember was 'What do fairies do?' I remember reading a book about Australian Fairy tales and how the wattle fairies came to be. Even now when I see a wattle bush I think of those fairies with their golden hair.
As an adult I came back to writing for children because of my own kids. I would tell them stories in the car that I had made up and they would want them again and again, writing them down was the best way to make sure they got what they wanted.
What inspires you as an author?
When I was little I would run into poles, because I was so busy reading books! I would read everything that I could get my hands on. Once when I had nothing in the house to read I would make up my own stories about the creatures that I found in my back yard. So, I am very inspired by the natural world, I am constantly amazed by the range of cool critters that there are in the world, and I cant wait to tell the story of every single one!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the greatest place on earth, in the Royal National Park in Sydney, Australia. Our house was perched on the top of a cliff, that led down into the National Park, with nothing but trees and streams for miles. This place is what makes me so passionate about nature stories for children, to try and give them the sense of awe that I feel every day I see that view.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I think it was the immediacy that could be gained by being independent, I could chat to my kids about a story on the morning, make my critters with craft with them at lunch, photograph our creations, and post the book online for everyone to enjoy by that evening. It is a very empowering experience.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I can not stress how integral Smashwords has been to my writing journey, from their quick format tips, to the authors page and the links to the hard copy of my books, it is a seamless, professional set-up. I honestly dont think the best agent that money could buy could assist me greater.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Watching a child read my story for themselves. I took a copy of 'Snakes and Ladders' to the National Science Center reading room the other day and watched a 5 year old pick up my book. He then curled himself up in that sunny spot and read my book to a plastic snake toy. The joy on my face at this sight was out of this world.
What do your fans mean to you?
With out anyone to write for the world would be a less sparkly place. I love reading my books to groups of kids, watching them read themselves and hearing from them about the story. The writer-reader feed back loop is a very important part of the process. While I treat my own kids as sounding boards for new stories, often they are quite biased, so hearing that a book works for a fan is my ultimate reward.
What are you working on next?
I am hoping that the next book in the 'Elle Mystery' series will be released next month, It is going to be a musical mystery, set at band camp, with magical instruments that appear to be able to play themselves, but looks can be deceiving, as Elle finds out what she puts her mind to doing a little detective work.
These stories I hope will become much loved favorites of 5-7 year old girls, who are in the process of moving into short chapter books.
Who are your favorite authors?
I read so many children's stories, but I am very bi-polar in my options as my daughter loves princesses, fairies and fantasy (so Enid Blyton, Daisy Meadows, and Brothers Grimm for her) and my son loves boy humor (so Roald Dahl, Andy Griffiths, and Paul Jennings for him).
As for me if I ever get a chance to read something that is not a kids story then I reach for sci fi, Asimov, and Carl Sagan are my absolute favorites.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Coffee.
Coffee.
Coffee.
Once that is done I would have to say riding my bike to work, walking around the lake, and trekking through the bush looking for drop bears.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am very much an out doors person, my doctorate is in freshwater ecology, so I spend as much time working out how to restore wetlands and looking at the bugs in ponds. I always have my camera and note book handy though- you never know when that great inspirational moment will strike.
How do you create the cute critters in your stories?
I have a huge craft box in my cupboard with pipe cleaners, paper, card, glitter, paddle pop sticks and buttons. Often I try experimenting with what works and take a test shot to see if they come out ok photographed, sometimes my creations morph and one creature from one book becomes something entirely different.
Published 2013-11-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Seven Dresses for Seven Sisters
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 250. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Clothing & Dress, Nonfiction » Children's Books » Family / General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
How will seven sisters celebrate the magic of Christmas when there is not a present in sight? Join them on this heart warming journey, filled with a beautiful Christmas spirit.
Bee Bee
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 300. Language: English. Published: August 12, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Animals
(5.00 from 1 review)
Come along on a magical journey through the garden. This book uses exquisite images to accompany the classic getting to know you children's song "Bee Bee, Bumble Bee, can you sing your name for me?" A must for any toddler.
Snakes and Ladders
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 80. Language: English. Published: August 9, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Animals / Reptiles & Amphibians
"Sam and Sophie are racing through the garden playing snakes and ladders,They are always on the look out for pythons and adders". From the first line this book will delight preschool children with its simple rhyming text and quirky images. What a great funky kids book.