How did you come to write about Alice and her experiences?


Hi there, I’m currently a “writers on writing” for my grade 12 writers craft class and was so excited to be able to choose you as my author for this assignment! I’ve pretty much gone my entire high school life reading th Alice series all at the same time frame as Alice (when she was in grade 10, I was in grade 10 reading the book, etc) and the books have in a way, helped me get through my high school experience. I’ve genuinely loved reading your Alice books and couldn’t imagine my high school years without them. So how did you come to write about Alice and her experiences? Where did you get your ideas from for every age and grade she went into? Were they based on personal experiences? And do you have any regrets or things you wish you did differently when writing the Alice books! I never used to like reading until I encountered the Alice series in grade 9. The books are so relatable and I’m glad I got the chance to read them all.

Phyllis replied:

I had only intended to write one book.  I guess I was thinking about my own mother–how much I loved her, but that I also looked for other role models.  Teachers were often such models: I liked the way one teacher looked, so wanted to look like her.  Liked the way another teacher laughed, so added that to my list.  I admired a neighbor woman for the casual way she dressed….   Some women, of course, were added to my don’t be like her list.  But after the first book came out, The Agony of Alice, I received so many letters from girls loving the book, and reviews that said, Alice’s many fans will await her further adventures, and I said, Whaaat?   So I discussed making a series, and told my editor I would do it as long as I could make Alice a little older in each book.  I didn’t want to get stuck in a perpetual sit-com, and that I would only write one book a year.  I wanted to be able to write other books as well.  Finally it turned out that I would write one book a year, but it would take three books for each year of Alice’s life, so I could go into more depth.  At some point, hearing that very young children were reading the Alice books written for more mature girls, I wrote three prequels to hold them off for awhile.  And decided that the very last book, the 28th book in the series, would take Alice from age 18 to 60.  I think I was able to do everything I intended, but I do miss writing about her, especially those conversations between her and Lester.  They always made me laugh out loud.  And I always cried when I wrote the sad parts.

Posted on: March 21, 2018


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