Alison Clarke is a writer/artist who also enjoys painting and drawing. She also experiences life as a spoken word artist. Alison is the author of The Sisterhood, a young adult fantasy novel about Oppie, a sorceress’ daughter, and her best friend, Aurie, who is a dragon, and the journey they go on to save the universe. The Sisterhood is Book One of The Sisterhood Series, for which Alison won the award 2016 Writer Of The Year by Diversity magazine. The second book in the series is Racine which continues the magical odyssey. It was nominated for Book Of The Year. The third book in the series is Circle, which was released on November 27, 2018.
JacanaBooks was able to sit down with Alison Clarke to discuss her book. Here is the interview. We hope you like it.
Can you tell us about Circle, why did you choose the genre or did it choose you?
I have always enjoyed the genre of fantasy–building different worlds. It’s fun.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I’ve been to London which has inspired my writing. Also, Haworth, home of the Bronte sisters, Trinity College which has the Book Of Kells, as well as Oxford, where C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien, both Masters of Fantasy, taught.
Would you say that introducing children to the magic of books is a must?
Can you speak to the importance of libraries in the formation of a child’s curiosity?
Libraries, home to stories, the word, is a spark to the Imagination, which is a spark to learning. Being open to different ideas is part of being curious, part of being open to the world around you. This is essential for everyone, not just children.
As an author, who influenced you growing up?
My mom, dad, my uncle, aunts, as well as authors such as Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, who had a lot to say about the black female experience. Also, in terms of fantasy, as a child, I enjoyed reading books such as Journey To The Center Of The Earth by Jules Verne, The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz by L. Frank Baum, and Miss Pickerell by Ellen MacGregor. When I was younger, I also read novels such as Anne Of Green Gables, and the whole Anne series by L.M. Montgomery, which had an empowering female protagonist, as well as Nancy Drew, and other series that had strong, intelligent young women as protagonists.
Your book is about a black, female protagonist. Do you feel there is a gap in the market for heroes who are female and black?
Why is this sort of messaging important?
It is important, because black children have to see themselves in books, in movies, and on T.V. As a child of colour growing up, I didn’t have that opportunity. There weren’t many black women or men as protagonists in books, on T.V. or in the movies. Things have started to change, but we have a long way to go.
How do your other author friends help you become a better writer?
They do by supporting me: listening to me, what I have to say, and giving me advice about writing, and generally about life.
How did it feel to win 2016 Writer Of The Year by Diversity magazine?
I was happy to receive the award, as it recognized my work in the community and my passion for creating literature. It was an honour to receive it, and was a culmination of years of work, on my path of being an author.
Do you do research for your novels?
Yes. Primarily, I like to work with books, paperbacks and hardcovers, but I also read e-books and do online research.
What does literary success look like to you?
For people to come up to me, and say that they enjoyed my books, or that my work changed their life in some way.
To interact with Alison, here is where you can find her on social media.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Alison-Clarke-749948061789271/
To buy a copy of her book: