Interview with Alice Casey

What is your experience with people with Down Syndome?
Not a lot. My uncle had an intellectual disability, and he lived with us when I was growing up, so I often used to meet the people he was working and socialising with. Some of them had Down Syndrome, but I wasn't close to them.
The initial reason I wanted to have a main character who had Down Syndrome was because I needed a character who had a slightly marginalised perspective on things. Later I realised that Eerin and Jordan were both based on children that I might have adopted but didn't. I guess in this story, in some way, I was weighing up the choices I had made to not have kids.
I was also keen to explore the possible future of Down Syndrome. With increased screening, it could well be that there are fewer Down Syndrome kids in the future. I am not particularly sentimental about that; it comes with many medical problems. While there are some kids who have the syndrome and good health, there are also many who suffer. However, there is a fascinating possibility that in the future the medical problems that accompany Down Syndrome could be gotten rid of in a way similar to Nigel's spell.
The church in your story is really horrible. Aren't you being a bit unfair?
I've hung out in some really lovely congregations, but have also seen some go pretty horribly wrong. I've always been a story gatherer. Listening to others multiplies your life experience. I haven't actually seen a congregation hiss at someone, but I do know of a church where a congregation member was kicked to death in an exorcism. So I don't think the Tauaroha Congregational is particularly far-fetched.
I don't go to church any more, but if I did, I'd probably try to join the Quakers.
There's a bit of discussion in your book about wicked stepmothers and sibling abuse. Are you concerned about that?
Yes, I am. These are two areas of child abuse that we typically don't want to think about, but statistics show that kids are at a higher risk of abuse from step-parents than blood relatives, and they also show that abuse from siblings is often much more damaging than we realise.
Describe your desk
Ah. I love my desk. It's an old oak writing bureau. I drilled a hole in the back to let computer cables through, and I put my laptop in there. When I'm writing, the laptop sits on top of the bureau. Under that are caddies for stationery. I have a wireless keyboard and a tablet. I sit in an office chair, but there's an armchair nearby which I can use if I'm feeling lazy.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I come from a little town in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. It's so small, that if I told you the name of the place, it would defeat the purpose of using a pen name! I got my first poem published in the local paper when I was 10, and really, nobody outside my family cared. I think my mum made me send something in to the papers most summer holidays, and it usually got published, but when I got older and I wanted to write about things I really cared about, then I started to use a pen name.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I tend to write outside of genre. For that reason, marketing is tough, and mainstream publishers wouldn't like to deal with it.
Published 2017-04-01.
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Books by This Author

Mangoes for Mei Fong
Price: Free! Words: 50,740. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general
This is an eerie yet slightly funny novel centered around the funeral of a lesbian business woman and the clash of modern and traditional cultures that is typical of South Taiwan.
Wanderlust for Beginners
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 93,060. Language: English. Published: March 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Eerin Kate has three chromosomes, four loving but complicated parents and an owl. When she gets her first period and starts seeing ghosts, everyone's got their own angle. But when Eerin finds her first ghost has dragged her into a local murder mystery, and she finds herself involved in a rather dangerous child abuse case, it involves the whole family.