Alison Brewis, author of Are We Nearly There Yet? talks to us about rhyming books, biscuits and flibbertigibbets!
10ofThose –Hi Alison, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your new book!
Alison – No problem!
10ofThose –For those who don’t know, you won our 10th Anniversary competition back in 2017 to find new talent. What prompted you to enter that?
Alison – A number of reasons I think. I’ve always liked writing, but not really tried anything like that before. I have 3 young children and I thought perhaps I could write something they would want to read. I also help run a toddler group at my church, and we’re always looking for good books to give away, so I thought maybe I could be part of the solution to that!
10ofThose – Was that the first book you had written?
Alison – Yes. My siblings and I used to like writing songs and funny plays together, but that was the first book I’d written.
10ofThose –That’s amazing! Since then you’ve gone on to write our new Easter book, Are We Nearly There Yet? What inspired you when you were writing it?
Alison – I wanted the story to have an over–arching theme, as well as obviously telling the Easter story clearly! Reading through John’s Gospel, I noticed how much Jesus and the disciples talk about “the hour” and whether it’s arrived yet. I know my children find it difficult to wait for things, especially in the car, so I decided to tie those two things together. Of course, the disciples don’t get quite what they were expecting, so that’s the twist in the tale!
10ofThose –I love the book, and especially because it rhymes. What was the hardest thing about writing a rhyming book?
Alison – Yes, I love rhyming books, especially to read aloud. With a Bible story, you can’t just change the story to make it rhyme – Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, even though a horse might be easier to rhyme! So that can be difficult, to make sure you get the facts across without picking ridiculous or trite rhymes.
10ofThose –Did you test out the story on your children and see what they thought?
Alison – I did, and they loved it. But I thought they’d probably love anything I’d written, so I checked it out with some more critical friends and family too!
10ofThose –How old are your children Alison?
Alison – They are 7, 4, and 2. A boy and 2 girls.
10ofThose –When you’re not being mum to your lovely children and writing children’s books what would we find you doing?
Alison – I’m a stay–at–home mum, but I’m also involved at toddler group and bible study at church, and spend most of my free (!) time reading books, or watching crime series on Netflix!
10ofThose –As we’re celebrating World Book Day, what is your favourite book, if you can narrow it down to one?!
Alison – For young children, my absolute favourite is Peepo, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg – great rhymes and beautiful, humorous illustrations.
For me, the books I go back to and re–read are the Jane Austen ones; Emma is probably my favourite.
10ofThose –If you had to compare yourself to a character from a book, who would it be?
Alison – I always joke I’m like Margaret Hale in Elizabeth Gaskell’s “North and South”. I’m the daughter of a clergyman, from the South, moved to a Northern mill town, and married a rough Northern man!
10ofThose –Are your children dressing up for World Book Day?
Alison – Their school is doing something slightly different this year – they have to dress up as an unusual word, and the school will do a vocabulary parade. My son is going to be “hullaballoo” with lots of noisy clothes, and I’d quite like to persuade my daughter to go as “flibbertigibbet”.
10ofThose –Wow, you’ll have to send us a picture, I’d love to see what a ‘flibbertigibbet’ looks like!
Alison – So would I! I’ll let you know when I’ve worked it out!
10ofThose –Do you have a favourite bible verse or passage?
Alison – I think it probably changes from season to season of life, but at the moment I’ve really been enjoying Romans 8. I read a great book that went through it called “From Here to Eternity”, and as I read, I saw how helpful Romans 8 is for making sense of life as a Christian in this world.
10ofThose –I always like to ask a silly question before we finish. If you were a biscuit, what kind of biscuit would you be?
Alison – Cadbury’s Animals – small and cheerful.
10ofThose –That’s great! Finally, can you tell us what’s next for you?
Alison – The book I wrote for the 10ofthose competition will be coming out this Christmas. It’s called The Longest Wait. And I can’t wait to see it!
10ofThose –Wow, that has been a long wait since 2017, I’m sure it will be worth the wait!
Are We Nearly There Yet is out now, and perfect for giving out at church toddler events.
Alison Brewis is currently a stay at home mum to her 3 children, and wife to Church of England Minister, Rob. This is her first book, following winning the 10ofThose New Talent competition in 2017.