I own a small steam locomotive and run it on a track. It is powerful enough to pull me and three grown-up passengers. It also goes very fast.
2. What is your nickname?
It is ‘Grandman’ — which is a name my grandchildren use. When my first grandson was very young, like everyone else he had two grandfathers. The other one he called Grandpa, so to avoid confusion in his young mind he gave me another name. All the other ten grandchildren do the same. Sometimes it’s just GM.
3. What is your greatest fear?
Heights. I will not go up in a balloon or jump out of a small aircraft with a parachute. Height is not my favourite dimension.
4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
Whimsical, accessible, sentences make sense the moment you read them.
5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Amiable, unflappable, self-starter, adaptable and dedicated.
6. What book character would you be, and why?
I’d like to be Roger from Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series. As a boy I loved those stories and my brother and I wanted to travel from my home in Scotland to the Lake District where we’d hope to meet the characters. To us they were real people. But we never made the trip as we only had one bike between us and no tent for camping and no money. But we were very keen on the idea.
7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
1837 — it’s the year Queen Victoria came to the throne. I am endlessly fascinated by the Victorian era in Britain and Australia and would like to be a bystander and observe all sorts of aspects of life — manners, the food people ate, how they spoke, social conditions, railway travel and a host of other things.
8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
Are you still here?
9. Who is your greatest influence?
Robert Burns — the Scottish poet — 1759-1796. He had a humble beginning, a short, crowded life and left such a huge volume of written work, of poems, songs and letters. In fact, when I consider again your curly question 7, I’d also like to time-travel to the year 1790, or so and meet the man and tell him how much I enjoy his epic poem Tam O’ Shanter.
10. What/who made you start writing?
I became a radio producer at the ABC and couldn’t find anyone to write material for me, so I started doing it myself — writing quality stuff to a set duration and to a strict deadline. That sort of training pays off. Before that I always enjoyed writing.
11. What is your favourite word and why?
Perspicacity. It’s a lonely word, not used much these days, so I like to trot it out from time to time. It could be the title to a Jane Austen novel.
12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A book called How to Write More Books. It hasn’t been written yet, but if you ask me curly questions I’ll give a curly answer.
David's latest book, To the Brave Seas, was released in March 2013. Keep watch for a giveaway here at Kids Book Review later this month. You can find out more about David and his books here.
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