Four years ago Aleesah Darlison realized she could awaken her dreams of being a published author by writing when the kids were asleep and still be a mum.
I could have the best of both worlds! I also realized I wanted to write for children so I started learning ‘the craft’ properly for the first time in my life.
I attended workshops, networked, read stacks of kids’ books, wrote in every spare second that I could, entered every competition that came my way, sent my work away to publishers. I got loads and loads of rejections, but I also started to get acceptances. Slowly, I began to make the unattainable dream a reality.
Aleesah has always been an avid reader and says that somewhere deep inside she has always been a writer, too. She won a writing competition when she was a teenager, and started dabbling in writing then, but she never properly embraced the challenge – or dared to dream that she could be a real, published author – until much later in life.
I think it was never letting go, and always working hard to achieve that dream that finally made me believe I was a writer. I’ve doubted myself often, but thankfully I’ve had others close to me who have believed in me.
This month Aleesah celebrates the release of Musical Mayhem, the first book in her Totally Twins series about identical twins, Persephone and Portia Pinchgut. As a child, Aleesah always wanted an identical twin.
I’d read stories about identical twins playing tricks on people and sharing things no one else could. In times when I felt unfairly treated by my parents, I always thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have a twin, a soul mate, who would feel as miserable as I do right now, or who would cheer me up?’. So, when I came to write this book, I drew on those memories and that desire to have a soulmate to share everything with. I also realized that sometimes things wouldn’t be perfect between twins and that I could draw on that fact to create loads of drama.
The Totally Twins series (for girls aged 9 +) is written in diary format by Persephone, and Magical Mayhem is about a school musical. Portia is the outgoing twin who loves to sing. Persephone (or Perse for short) is the shy twin who is often overshadowed by her super-confident sister and who is also a terrible singer. Perse can’t bear the idea of having to get up on stage in front of people. But everyone in class must play a part on stage…
Readers can find out more about Persephone or get in touch with Aleesah by visiting her website at: www.aleesahdarlison.com. And for more information about Serena Geddes and her work, they can visit her website at: www.reeni.com.au. Aleesah says,
Serena and I are embarking on a national tour to promote the Persephone series in schools and libraries as a ‘Dynamic Creative Duo’ and to give the inside scoop on Persephone and her sister, Portia. We’re really looking forward to it. We hope to meet lots of Perse fans, and lots of Kids’ Book Capers readers, over the next few months.
On Wednesday, Serena will visit Kids’ Book Capers to talk about her journey and her wonderful illustrations, and on Friday, we’ll go ‘under to cover’ of “Totally Twins” and find out more about Persephone and Portia Pinchgut and their story.