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Interviewer: Good afternoon, dear listeners, and welcome to our program. We continue to interview writers for you, and today in our studio we have Alyson Grey, a young writer, and we are going to discuss her debut novel and the way she started her literary career. Hello Alyson.
Alyson: Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me here.
Interview: You can now see your debut novel in every bookstore. How does it feel?
Alyson: Honestly, it’s sort of surreal. Everyone who wants to be a writer imagines the day they’ll finally hold their finished book in their hands. Part of you believes it will never happen, so when that day finally arrives, it’s a strange feeling. My sister jokingly asked if I was sleeping with the book under my pillow every night. I’m not quite that bad, but I do still keep picking it up, flipping through the pages and marveling at it. I don’t think the reality has completely sunk in yet.
Interviewer: Have you always wanted to be a writer, and was there a particular moment when you thought ‘I can do this.’?
Alyson: I think my literary aspirations began when I was about ten years old. I had a teacher that year that used to give us an hour every week to write stories or poems. We were allowed to work on anything we wanted to, and I loved it. It was the highlight of my week. At the end of the hour, we had the opportunity to read our compositions in front of the class. I was a pretty shy kid who didn’t get much attention. But when I got up in front of the class and read, everyone would get quiet, genuinely listen, and clap enthusiastically for me when I finished. I think they were particularly impressed by the fact that I could make up poems that rhymed, so I developed what was probably a very niche role for a fifth grader. I was the girl who could write. From that point on, writing was what I wanted to do.
Interviewer: Did you continue writing at college?
Alyson: Oh course. In my freshman year in college I submitted a couple of short stories to a university-wide creative writing competition called ‘The Hopwood Awards,’ and I won a cash prize. My university was a large one, so the prize was fairly competitive. That felt like the first serious evidence that I might actually have some sort of real knack for writing. My work has been recognized, not by my friends or an encouraging English teacher, but by complete strangers who’d picked my work out of a large pile of entries.
Interviewer: Do you have any advice for the yet to be published writers listening to you right now?
Alyson: Well, my major piece of advice is to learn how to steel yourself for criticism and rejection. Try not to turn it into something personal, because it‘s not personal, actually. It’s not easy, but it will make your life better if you can. Taste in writing and literature is subjective. I always remind myself that there isn’t one book out there so brilliantly written that it doesn’t have its staunch detractors — people who are happy to detail for you exactly what they don’t like about it. The other thing would be to make sure you’re getting your work out there where people will see it. It doesn’t have to be a major publication. I have writer friends who have editors or agents contact them after reading their work in smaller journals. Opportunities can arise from places you never expected. You want to give people the chance to find you.
Interviewer: Thank you Alyson, it has been really interesting talking to you.
Alyson: Thank you. The pleasure has been all mine, I guess.
3. What do we learn about Alyson at the beginning of the interview?
2) She has published her first novel.
4. How does Alyson feel when she sees her book in shops?
1) She still can’t believe it’s true.
5. How did Alyson start to write?
2) Her teacher at school gave the class weekly writing tasks.
6. What does Alyson say about her college days?
3) She kept on writing through them.
7. What does Alyson say about her literary prize at college?
3) It made her feel like a writer.
8. The first advice from Alyson as a published writer for beginners is about …
9. Why does Alyson believe that the scale of the first publication is not that important?
3) Your work could be noticed anywhere.