Ask The Author

Anthony McGowan


Hello, we loved reading The Stars at Oktober Bend! We have a question, why don't your sentences start with capital letters?
Between the Tring Park Pages Shadowing Group,  Herts

I wanted to emphasise the difficulty Alice had communicating in written and oral forms. To do this I felt it was important to focus more on the ideas Alice wanted to express, rather than on structural aspects of narrative such as capital letters and sentence structure.

Why did you start with a flashback?
Heather, 13

Hello Heather and thank you for your interesting question. I had to think really carefully about why I began 'The Stars at Oktober Bend' the way I did. I suppose there are elements of a flashback in this chapter because Alice is telling us about events that have happened in the past, but you will notice that she isn't narrating as though she is actually present in that moment.

Looking back now, I think that what I tried to do was introduce Alice to her readers, tell them a little about her role in the book and also give a brief summary of her traumatic past. You will then see how the final paragraph talks about the arrival of Bear - almost as though that is the signal of change and new beginnings for Alice. The other thing I'd like to tell you is that it took me a long, long time to find the sound of Alice's voice - so when I eventually heard her speak in my mind, I tried to put it down on the page as authentically as I could. I hope this helps you to understand.

Did you use the name Alice (referring to Alice in wonderland) to show that she has a vivid imagination?
Fay, 12

I wanted a name that was universal and ageless and I finally settled on Alice because it was my grandmother’s name. However - I love that you, Fay, have made the connection with Alice in Wonderland - one of my favourite books of all time!

Why did you refer to it as Alice's electrics?
Hillhead High School 3A2 Shadowing Group, Scotland

Electricity is found throughout the human body. It plays a role in our heart beats, in muscular activity and in transmitting information to the brain. In fact the brain contains roughly a hundred billion electric ‘wires’. In cases where there has been trauma to the brain, sometimes the ‘electrics’ are damaged. This can effect many things including language and speech. I think you will see now why Alice refers to her ‘electrics’.

Your book was great. However I would like to have more information about the end of the book. I would like to know a bit more about Manny's sister precious. Can you tell me more?
Victoria, 12

Thank you Victoria. I have always loved reading books which, when I reach the end,leave me wanting more. Books like these, make me think for days and weeks about what might have happened to the characters afterwards. So I suppose it follows that I also enjoy writing books like that. Another thing is, that I always wanted ‘The Stars at Oktober Bend’ to be Alice’s story. So although all the other characters have certain roles to play, I didn’t want their stories to detract too much from Alice.