I grew up on a small farm outside a sleepy little village called Tinonee on the mid-north coast of NSW. We always had loads of pets and plenty of wild animals in the bush around us. I think that's why I love animals so much and why I write stories about them now. Animals are important and humans are lucky to share the world with these special and amazing creatures. Even if we don't always realise it!
When I finished high school, I moved to Sydney and studied marketing and the University of New South Wales. Although I dreamed of being a writer, many people told me it was a difficult occupation to succeed in, so I decided to study marketing instead. After graduating, I worked for ten years in corporate marketing, but I was always writing in my spare time. A few years after I started my own family, I decided that I had to stop treating writing as a hobby and really give it a go. I was determined to get published.
I attended workshops, joined several writing networks like SCBWI and the CBCA and set up two writers critique groups. We would meet every fortnight to read our work out and give feedback on each others stories. It wasn't long before I was getting stories published in magazines, winning prizes in writing competitions ... and earning loads of rejection letters from publishers! But I kept on trying. Within three years of dedicating myself to my writing, I had my first picture book acceptance.
My first book, Puggle's Problem, was published in July 2010 by Wombat Books. Since then, I've published over twenty books including the Unicorn Riders Series, the Totally Twins Series, Ash Rover, I Dare You, Little Good Wolf, Little Meerkat and Warambi. I've also had many book reviews published in the Sun-Herald and short stories and articles published in anthologies, newspapers and magazines.
After twenty-five years in Sydney, my family and I moved to the Sunshine Coast in late 2014. We dreamed of a better lifestyle, of more freedom, of beautiful natural surroundings and of new places to be inspired by and to explore. I'm very happy to say we've found all these things. We now live in Buderim and enjoy many rainforest walks, wild kangaroos living nearby, bird life aplenty, and of course, some of the world’s most glorious and untainted beaches.
You can find out more about Aleesah at her website: www.aleesahdarlison.com
Note from CYA Conference: Aleesah is one of our success stories, and we are so happy to have her back a presenter this year!