Alison Miles

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Now that's not a very long or complicated story. I always loved writing and drawing as a child and imagined being a writer or artist when I grew up. I also loved my violin, and playing in orchestras was so much fun, that I decided to try to do that. "Whatever I do," I told my parents very firmly, "I don't want to work in an office!" Well, that didn't quite work out because when I left university, I had to find a job ASAP.  And guess what? It was an office job! Still, it was a job related to music and I managed to play my violin most evenings in concerts and shows.

Alison Miles

Alison Miles

I never lost my desire to write and wished I could make the time for it. I wrote a few short stories but I never showed them to anyone. On the tube travelling to work I often read poetry. I loved the soundscape of poems, the way they rise and fall, race and stall. Poetry is like a river — it lulls and abrades in wild escapades. Poetry is music, too. The sounds of the words are melody, and meter its rhythmic dynamism; punctuation, its pauses and cadences. Now that was a highfaluting piece of wordery! 

That maybe so, but it does not explain how I came to write Snippy The Crab tales. Well, they came about by a couple of lucky breaks. When I had my first child (he's just turned 30 but don't tell anyone!) he was more like a tired old cat than a bouncing baby; he slept and he slept and he kept on sleeping. I checked that this was normal and the health visitor said: "You don't know how lucky you are!" So I decided not to worry about my lovely little bundle and get on with writing while he was sweetly dreaming in the land of nod. That quiet period, before more children arrived, gave me the chance to write a rough version of my first Snippy story and sketch out the second. 

Alison Miles

Alison Miles

A friend of a friend knew someone who worked in something to do with children's publishing and she said: "I really like your story. I'll show it to Ms X." Ms X also liked my story and the way the story was told through rhyme. Those two things made me very happy, but then came the killer blow. Have you guessed it? "The industry is going global," Ms X said. "Rhyming stories are not so popular with publishers any more." I didn't see that there was much hope for poor Snippy so I tucked him in a box and put away my paper and pen (which is what we had in those days) and got on with building lego castles, taking trips to the park and cooking fish fingers — you know the usual things that parents and carers do (as well as filling in forms and paying tax!).

In fact, I was very busy doing that and teaching and playing the violin in schools and at home until 2020 when a thing called the Covid pandemic came across world. It hurt a lot of people and many died which was very sad. It also meant that I suddenly had a little extra time on my hands and I still wanted to write those books! 

 

I guess I am nothing if not determined — even after 29 years! So I got out the old paper pieces and typed them into something called an iPad — a marvellous little contraption. When I’d completed Snippy The Crab’s Deep Sea Adventure, I couldn’t wait to get on with Snippy The Crab’s High-Flying Adventure and before I’d finished that, I’d already started Snippy The Crab’s Restaurant Caper, which overlapped with Snippy The Crab’s Laboratory Lockdown (well, we were all having one of those!) Simultaneously, I worked on Snippy The Crab — Caught on Camera! which in turn inspired Snippy The Crab’s Bandstand Blast Off and my current work in progress is Snippy The Crab’s Christmas Cracker — at least that’s the working title.

alison miles

And to quote one of my favourite lines from one of my favourite books: "And that's all there is. There isn't any more."  That's the sum of my writing career - not a lot of it, is there?