Ronan has a dilemma which is quite common in childhood – fears and anxieties about any change in his life. When we meet him at the beginning of the story he is too scared to even venture out into the garden at his grandmother’s house. But then he meets a new friend – a dinosaur named Scoot. Scoot teaches him to overcome his fears. But just as he learns courage, things get worse, and he has a lot more change and upheaval coming his way.
Will Ronan and Scoot be able to cope with the change and upheaval? To find out what’s in store for this dynamic duo, Nadishka Aloysius and I have sat down to chat about the fun, fear and friendship in Ronan’s Dinosaur. Nadishka, I really love the idea of finding a dinosaur in grandma’s garden. How did this idea come to you?
It began with the name. My first book was named after my elder son. So this one uses my younger one’s name (Ronan). I wrote this at a very difficult time in our lives when my elder son was going through many anxieties. I was stressed out and writing was my way of coping. And of course, as most boys, they are both mad about dinosaurs!
*Laughs* Your boys have great taste because dinosaurs are awesome! Do you think that your experiences living with dinosaur mad boys helped you to develop the characters in your novel?
Yes, the main character Ronan was actually modelled on my elder son. The grandmother is I think my idea of the ideal grandmother. The parents are, I confess, very much like myself and my husband! One other character that stands out is the nosy, bossy maid – my own mom when reading this said it reminded her of a maid we had when I was young (I think my subconscious played a part in that, then).
I always find it fascinating to find out how the subconscious plays a role adding little details to an authors story. And sometimes it can even add the entire storyline! As you look over the completed story, what do you feel is the central idea that you’re trying to share with your readers?
I wanted to give the message that change is natural. It is okay to be scared. But it is how you deal with change that matters. There is also a message to parents. The parents in the book have to decide how to deal with Ronan’s anxiety issues – should they seek specialist help? Or is there a less invasive way to cope? I am aware that parents often read to their kids and I wanted both parties to have something to think about when they get to the end of the story.
It’s great that you’ve also weaved the parents point of view into the story. Have you found the challenge of writing a story that’s interesting to read for both children and their parents exciting, or does it get a little overwhelming at times?
It excites me! My problem is finding the time to sit and write without distractions! I have two kids whose school and extracurricular activities I have to manage. I am also a part-time teacher. And I have to run the household. So I sometimes look back after completing a book and feel amazed I got it done!
Wow, you are busy, but it’s great to see that you’ve put aside enough time to get it done. What have you learnt by putting aside this time to get your book done?
Ronan’s Dinosaur was my first book at middle-grade level. I had to keep syntax and vocabulary to a level they would understand. I had to make sure the chapters broke correctly. The hardest part was getting an illustrator!
Getting an illustrator sounds like quite the adventure! As this was your first time working with an illustrator, I’d love to find out a little more about what books you’ve written before, and how you’ve become a better writer with each book.
I started by writing for younger kids aged 6 – 8. My latest book was a YA romance, so I could say I have progressed up the ladder! The writing style in Raavana’s Daughter is definitely more formal and ‘literary’. Both styles give me pleasure to write.
What’s next for you as you’re working your way up the ladder. Are you writing another middle-grade level book, or perhaps even a series?
I have published book #1 of a mystery series which is my homage to Enid Blyton. It is about five 9-year-olds dealing with very real social prejudices and issues related to growing up, as they solve a neighbourhood mystery. I am working on books #2 and #3 now – due out in 2019.
That’s very exciting, and with 2019 only a few weeks away I’m sure you’re very busy getting the next instalments out. Getting your books out can be very stressful business, so let’s take a few moments to recharge our writing batteries by having some fun with some writing, and less writing focussed questions. We’ll start the fun with, have you ever been on a literary pilgrimage?
Yes. I love British authors and I have visited the Lake District, Stratford-upon-Avon and Wales and taken tours etc. to follow my favourite authors. It was a wonderful experience to see and feel what would have inspired them.
I hope that you’re able to take that inspiration to your writing and beyond. Maybe as far as the kitchen! And when you’re in the kitchen, can you let us know why a square meal is served on round plates?
So that you eat all your vegetables (no corners to shove things into!)
*Laughs* Those veggies are too important to shove away in the corners. They help you do awesome things like deciding on a favourite word. What’s your favourite word?
Oh Bunglers! (my son came up with it and I love it!)
Me too! You’ll have to find an interesting way to slip it into one of your upcoming books! Or perhaps our readers can find it in Ronan’s Dinosaur, to find out you’ll have to check it out! Nadishka, thanks for sharing a taste of dinosaurs with us today, and I hope we all get to see more of them soon!
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Ronan’s Dinosaur ( ASIN: B07CM2DRXB )‘.
Want to find out more about Nadishka Aloysius? Connect here!