SpineOut : February - March 2018
hands I started the first draft of a story that is now the book! You grew up on a farm in rural NSW, butlefthomeattheageof16–whydid you want to leave? I had a great childhood and early adolescence growing up in Gulgong and to say I wanted to leave isn’t quite the right terminology, although I’m not sure what is! When I tell people I moved out of home so young, most assume I ran away orwaskickedoutandinawayIkindof did get kicked out; by myself. I knew I was a lesbian and I didn’t know what to do. I was terrified of what would happen if anyone found out the truth so I convinced my parents to let me audition for a performing arts high school in Newcastle. I thought moving away, being in a city, would help. To say it didn’t help would be a massive understatement! I still had all my issues, I was just four and a half hours from home! IF I TELL YOU MEET THE AUTHOR 3 At what point in your life did you decide to write If I Tell You, and why? I was living in the UK and recovering from an injury which laid me up for about eight weeks. I went in search of books to read and I’ve always enjoyed YA fiction so I was curious to see if there were any new queer YA titles. I couldn’t find anything in the library or local book shop so I ended up buying some off eBay - Dare, Truth or Promise by Paula Boock; Sugar Rush by Julie Birchill and a few others. I realised that the problem I had as a teenager still existed - there was no easily accessible queer YA fiction. So with time on my Spine Out FEBRUARY / MARCH 2018 PAGE TWO MEET ALICIA TUCKERMAN Can you tell us about your main character, Alex Summers? To what degree does her experience as a teenager line up with your own? Alex is like most seventeen-year- olds; she’s struggling with the usual teenage stuff; friends and school and parents and trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. She just happens to also be a lesbian who’s still growing into that part of her identity and still learning the meaning of being brave. Like Alex, I grew up in a small country town and I had my own issues with my identity and lack of courage. I think that knowing the taste of that kind of fear — of fearing who you are and what you feel — is reflected in my writing whether intended or not! But insofar as Alex’s story, aside from the rural setting and my own experiences with homophobia and ignorance, there’s no real parity.
October - November 2017