'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 28 August 2012

12 Curly Questions with author Myke Bartlett

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
My family were Hungarian nobility so, if you believe my mother, I’m technically a lord. I think I used to try to impress girls with that when I was much, much younger.

2. What is your nickname? 
More than a few people have called me Lord Myke. No, I don’t know. Do people really have nicknames? If I have one, nobody’s ever told me. A friend calls me Professor, because I’m the sort of person who might wear a jacket with leather elbow patches.

3. What is your greatest fear? 
I worry a lot. It’s my main hobby. But I’m terrible with making lists. I review films for a living, but I could never name my top ten films, let alone my favourite. So I couldn’t name my greatest fear. I’d be too worried I’d pick the wrong one.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.

Fun, scary, imaginative, real, sesquipedalian, yearning, playful and grubbily romantic.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer. 
Hard-working. Fast. Enthusiastic. Obsessed. Cheeky.

6. What book character would you be, and why? 
Tintin. Because he’s such a wonderfully one-dimensional character. He exists solely to go have adventures, see incredible places and fight villains. Most fictional characters have horrible things happen to them or battle inner turmoil. That’s where drama comes from. Not Tintin, it’s adventure all the way. Also, he has a dog. If I were fictional, I’d want a dog.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why? 
The future. The past is dirty, smelly and unbelievably dangerous. Frankly, I’m amazed any of us survived it. I’m more interested in seeing how much better things can be than they are now. I want to see how humanity can improve itself. Really, what scares me most is people trying to drag us all back into the past.

8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now? 
He’d probably just want to play on my computer. When I was ten, computers were magical. I banged against their screens like a pixel-obsessed moth. I couldn’t quite believe a game like Super Mario Bros existed. I wanted to live inside it. Apart from that, I don’t think he’d be disappointed. Maybe he’d tell me to cut my hair. Or maybe he’d just be glad I still have some.

9. Who is your greatest influence? 
Music. Songs moved me and made me want to create stories that were as powerful. In terms of writers, two books helped me find my voice — Cloudstreet by Tim Winton and The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman by Bruce Robinson. They had a mix of cleverness and crudeness and poetry that made absolute sense to me, and made sense of what I was trying to do with my own writing.

10. What/who made you start writing? 
Boredom made me start writing. Except it wasn’t really boredom, it was just having the time to think. I am so grateful that my parents gave me time to think, that I wasn’t allowed to spend the day in front of the telly, that I was kicked out of the house and had to make things up to amuse myself. It’s important to be self-sufficient when it comes to entertainment, I think. You learn more from having to keep yourself amused. As soon as I won my pen licence, I started writing these entertainments down.

11. What is your favourite word and why? 
Tmesis. It’s not really my favourite word, but it’s a word I reach for often and can never remember. I’m hoping writing it down now will make it stick.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
I’m tempted to say David Copperfield because it’s fat and I’ve never read it beyond that fantastic first line. Or maybe The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, because I’ve read it twice and still adore it. But I’m going to cheat and go for a Raymond Chandler omnibus, because his simple, strange poetry always makes me want to pick up a pen. And because that way I’ll get three books for the price of one.

Fire in the Sea is out now. 

If you are an author or illustrator who thinks they are BRAVE enough to answer our questions, 
OR if there is an author or illustrator you would like to hear from, LET US KNOW! 
We will see if they are up to the task. Just email: kellyATkids-bookreviewDOTcom