6 Questions with Lisa Williamson

We asked Lisa Williamson, author of The Art of Being Normal, six questions about  being a writer and her favourite books!

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If you've not yet read The Art of Being Normal, why not read our apprentice's review - click HERE to give it a read.

1) What was your inspiration for writing this book? 
“In 2010, I got a job working as an administrator at The Gender Identity Development Service (an NHS service offering talking therapies for under-18s struggling with their gender identity). It was just meant to be a temporary thing between acting jobs but I ended up staying for two years! During my time there, it dawned on me there were very few books that explored the transgender experience, especially aimed at young people. I became very committed to creating a character who was struggling with their gender identity, but not defined by it, just like the young people I interacted with on a daily basis."

2) What were the main challenges that you faced when writing this book?
“Definitely structure. It was quite a jigsaw puzzle to piece the plot together and took loads of attempts to get it right. I went down a lot of dead ends!"

3) As a child or teenager, did you want to be a writer and if so, is it as you expected? 
“As a very small child I wanted to write and illustrate books and used to spend hours locked in my bedroom with pens and paper.

Around nine or ten I decided I wanted to be an actor instead and that sort of took over and I became quite tunnel-visioned. It was only really in my late-twenties I started writing again and realised how much I'd missed it."

4) Who are the writers that have influenced you?
“Gosh, lots! Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, Kate Atkinson, John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Jane Austen, Curtis Sittenfeld, David Nicholls, Sarah Waters, the list goes on."

5) What's in your reading pile currently?
“Remix by Non Pratt, Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill, Solitaire by Alice Oseman and Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey."

6) What is your all time favourite book?
“Oooh, that's so hard! Can I have three please? One Day by David Nicholls, The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Oh and Starring Sally J Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume! Oh dear, that's four..."

The Art of Being Normal is available in hardback for £10.99. If you'd like to order a copy of The Art of Being Normal or of any of the books mentioned by Lisa Williamson, click HERE.