Interview with Author Alison Hart
You wrote your first book at the age of seven. How long was it (or at what age) before you got your first book published?
I published my first book in 1988. I can’t tell you how long it was since writing The Wild Dog (when I was seven) because my age has become a delicate subject.
Out of all the books you have written, which is your favorite?
Each one is my favorite while I write it—it has to be in order for me to be passionate about the setting, characters and journey the character makes. For example, when I wrote Emma’s River, about a girl and her pony on a steamboat adventure, I had to really visualize myself on the river and in a terrible accident. Interesting!
What type of research do you do for your historical fiction books like Gabriel's Journey? Do you ever visit the historical places in your books to help with your writing?
Research is all-consuming for me. For the trilogy, which is set during the Civil War, I read at least 200 books, spent much time online and visited Kentucky. I drove down Lexington Pike and went to Camp Nelson, several museums, Churchill Downs race track, and a plantation. I also took a course on the Civil War. For books set in modern time, such as Shadow Horse and its sequel Whirlwind, I visited rescue farms and researched insurance scams to make my setting and mystery compelling.
So many of your books are about horses. Do you own horses? If so, what do you love about them?
I have two horses, Relish and Belle. I have been obsessed with horses since I could talk and have owned horses (a fat pony was my first) since I was five-years-old. They have been a huge part of my life, but honestly, I can not say what it is that draws me to them. I also have two cats and three dogs, so I think I am just an animal person.
If you could go back in some of the time periods you write about, which would it be and why?
None. I am very aware of the difficulty women had before emancipation.
How many hours a week do you dedicate to writing?
If I have a deadline, I may write five to six hours a day. If I don’t have a deadline, I tend to slack off. I am also an adjunct at a community college, so teaching writing and reading essays is a big part of my week.
What is your favorite part about writing?
I love research! Every book I write has details and action that can only be written because of my research. For example, the guerrillas that gave Gabriel many tense moments in Gabriel’s Horses, and the horrendous Battle of Saltville where many African American soldiers were gunned down in Gabriel’s Journey are all a part of history.
If you could give one piece of advice to a child who wants to grow up to be a writer, what would it be?
Write! Read! Write some more! And have fun being creative.
I want to express my thanks to Alison for a great interview. I love her humor which comes out in question one. I am impressed with the work and research she puts into writing her books.
Click here to go to Alison Hart's website to find more of her great works.
The Racing to Freedom Trilogy