What influenced you to start writing? I grew up in a house of readers and writers. Both my parents were published writers but they also wrote letters and articles, cards and speeches, so being a writer was never a new concept for me. It was what was.
What was the most interesting thing you discovered when writing ‘Possum Magic’? I discovered that writing for young children was about a thousand times more difficult than it first appeared to be.
What was the best thing about writing ‘Possum Magic’? It became and remains the best selling children’s book in Australia and many good things have flowed from that: it’s been easier, for example, to have my subsequent books published in a highly competitive publishing world.
What was one of the best things that happened because of ‘Possum Magic’? My father’s joy at my success was really adorable. He said it would be another ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’ and I thought he was just being my darling dad, but he turned out to be right after all.
Who do you find inspiring? I am inspired by people who stand up against injustice, cruelty or stupidity, even when it might place them in danger of their lives, or may cause them loss of reputation among their family and friends.
Which books do you recommend? I read all the literary fiction that people happen to be raving about at any particular time and I love recommending those books. I like to be well ahead of the game in reading the latest novels, worldwide! For example: ‘We Need New Names’ by NoViolet Bulawayo; and ‘A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing’ by Eimear McBride.
Which movies do you recommend? I love art movies so that’s what I recommend. I loathe blockbuster American films.
Do you collect anything? No. I am a minimalist. We live in a very tidy house, devoid of clutter. I will however, confess a weakness for green paper clips.
What is something that most people might not know about you? This will sound as if I love myself but since you asked… I am known to be a good cook. I adore cooking. I would rather cook than write.
What are you working on next? I write very rarely: probably no more than three weeks a year, if you added up all the minutes. I always have three or four books on the go so I can avoid working on anything that’s proving to be horribly problematic. I often wonder if I’m a natural writer as I avoid it so often. I do like filling in questionnaires like this—in fact I like writing anything but picture books. My latest book came out last week: ‘Baby Bedtime’, illustrated by Emma Quay. I’m very excited about it. And this time next year, look for a hysterical book, illustrated again by Judy Horacek, called ‘This and That’.