Marcia Strykowski

March Author Spotlight

alisonSpring is just around the corner, perfect timing to feature Alison Ashley Formento on this month’s author showcase. Welcome, Alison! Your award-winning books are sure to bring us some long overdue warmth and sunshine.

Please share a little about your books.

I love writing short stories so I’m very proud of my published picture book series THESE THINGS COUNT! Five books, so far, and they all illustrate my love of nature and how what we do in our surroundings counts in this world. I happen to love writing for teens, too, and I’m happy to share my debut young adult novel TWIGS, featuring a main character by the same name, who is small of stature, and of spirit, but finds the way to face to the weirdness in her life.

alison pic books

alison twigs photoHow has where you’ve lived or traveled influenced your work?
Anywhere I’ve hiked from the Sierra Madre Mountains in California to the Ozarks to the Appalachian Trail has nurtured my interest and love of nature. This interest in hiking and especially in caring for our natural world spurred my picture books series. Growing up in Arkansas definitely inspired the small town characters I’ve written about in TWIGS. Currently, I’m inspired by a certain famous skyscraper in New York as one of the settings in a new novel I’m writing.

Could you briefly tell us your writing process?

Walk, think, shower, think, walk, think.
Sit and doodle. Draw several trees. Stop doodling.
Write what I’ve thought about. Write, write, write. Write like the wind!
Time passes…
Revise, revise, revise.
Doodle, eat chocolate, and reread story many times.
Take a deep breath and finally send story to writing friends.
Revise again based on notes from friends.
Send story to agent. Fill heart with hope that she can sell it to a publisher.
Walk, think, shower, think, walk, think about a new story while waiting for news.

What advice would you give to new authors hoping to become published?
Don’t stop writing just because your work is rejected. It will get rejected time and time again—that’s part of this writing business. Keep improving your craft, and keep submitting, until some agent or editor says yes to your story.

Five favorites:
a. favorite book = I’ll have to keep reading until I can answer this question.
b. favorite movie = This changes like the moon for me. Wizard of Oz, Forest Gump, Birdman (this year)
c. favorite vacation = Jamaica for the lovely people and beaches. New York City for character, not to mention great theatre and museums.
d. favorite hobby = Reading, of course, followed by nature hikes.
e. favorite color = Green!

If you weren’t a children’s book author, what career(s) would you like to try?

Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Expert travel guide capable of speaking any language
Royal tea taster at Buckingham Palace

Thanks, Alison, great answers! Please check out her website here:


  1. Louise

    I enjoyed Alison’s answers, especially the last one!


  2. Ashley

    I really enjoy these author spotlights, a great addition to one of my favorite blogs.


    • Thanks so much, Ashley. I appreciate your frequent participation on the blog.


  3. Bette Norton

    It is always such a treat to learn about new authors on your author spotlight posts. I especially enjoyed learning about Alison Formento. I love picture books that carry an important message for children. I will be looking up these books, as well as her new young adult reader Twigs!. A wonderful post!


  4. annastan

    Great to see you here, Alison! You and I seem to have a similar writing process, except I think mine includes “eat chocolate” a little more often. 😉


    • Along with chocolate, I like the “write like the wind” part, too.


  5. mirkabreen

    Alison is a beautiful writer and person, and from this photo I see she’s also gorgeous. Thanks for hosting her, Marcia.


    • You’re welcome, Mirka. Thanks for your comment. (I agree–beautiful picture!)


  6. A fun interview to read! And of course green is Alison’s favorite color. 🙂


    • I noticed her books even won ‘green’ awards–perfect color choice all around.


  7. Bobbi Miller

    What a fun interview! And I love Alison’s process: hot showers and plenty of chocolate!! And I really like these books, too. TWIGS sounds really interesting. Thank you for introducing me to this wonderful new (to me!) author!


    • Chocolate seems to be a writing requirement. Thanks for your comment!


  8. I sometimes get a little weary of author interviews, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Serious and funny in equal parts and I laughed out loud when I read the walk, think, shower, think, walk, think line, it always pays to be clean while thinking! Thanks Alison and Marcia.


  9. This is such a delightful interview to read. Love Alison’s writing routine because it sounds like mine and I’d love to be a Royal Tea Taster, too! Her picture book series look very beautiful. Nature is an important subject all over the world. And Twigs sounds like a character I’d want to learn more about. I had a good time here, Alison and Marcia!


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