Question and Answer session with childrens author.

Alyson Oliver

What was the inspiration behind Coop Chaos?

The idea of owning and caring for my own hens was an ambition I had held on to since watching the seventies sit-com ‘The Good Life.’

Unknown to me, my brother David also shared the same ambition. When he managed to secure an allotment plot close to where I live, it became a reality. Together we raised and cared for ten hens.

Tell us about your writing process.

I began writing notes in my journal with respect to my day-to-day activities with the hens. Having wrote in a journal for over forty years this was a natural extension of my writing process. I began observing the hens more closely and gave each of them a name. I was able to recognise them individually, observing their behaviour and rituals. The notes I was making in the journal began to look very much like a story that young children might be interested in. At the time I had a young grandson so initially I wrote it with him in mind. Currently I have four grandchildren whom I sincerely hope will enjoy reading these funny stories.

Tell us about the illustrator. 

I confess that I have zero skill with art work of any description. Therefore, in order to bring my stories alive for the children I needed to find an illustrator. When I had written five stories, I took the plunge and sent a manuscript to a number of publishers explaining I would need an illustrator.

Sadly, none of the publishers at the time were willing to publish my work. This was seven years ago. I then began writing my first adult novel which was published under my pen name of K.L. Loveley. Swiftly followed by two other works of fiction and a collection of poetry.

My children’s stories although on the back burner, were not forgotten, then a couple of years ago it came to my attention from a very good friend of mine, that since her husband Dereck Maguire had retired, he had seriously taken up painting portraits. His work was excellent and although he had never done any serious illustrations, he did not hesitate to agree to illustrate Coop Chaos. Derek worked tirelessly to capture the character of each individual hen and the characters of Mr Green and Primrose. His work is outstanding.

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