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

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Tania McCartney - KBR Founder and Editor-at-large

Author, illustrator, editor, publisher and all-round inspiration, Tania McCartney, is the creative force behind Kids' Book Review. Launching the site as a way to express and share her love of children's literature back in April 2009, Tania has nurtured and shaped Kids' Book Review into one of the web's most respected Children's Literature-focused websites. With a particular obsession for picture books, Tania finds much joy in both the writing and sharing of books with children; one of her great passions is juvenile literacy.

You can find out more about Tania on the Kids' Book Review About page or see her website--www.taniamccartney.com.

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I’ve lived in four different countries and have moved house over 60 times. I’m very good at packing!

2. What is your nickname?
Tan. When I was little, I was obsessed with television (still am!). My siblings nicknamed me 'boxhead'. I carry the title proudly.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Perhaps the evaporation of time. That scares me a little. The health of our planet scares me the most, especially when we have people in power who are so clueless about it [read: so money-focused].

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
Inspired from somewhere unknown, whimsical, original, educational, outside the square.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Dedicated, diverse, unique, multi-tasking, kid-focused.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Eloise, so I could let loose in the Plaza Hotel in New York. I'd also like to be Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia. Who wouldn't?

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
Not a year, but an era... La Belle Époque in Paris (1871 – 1914) – for the art, literature, music, theatre, beauty, fashion, glamour, scientific discovery – and the pre-World-Wars peace.

8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
Thank you for finally getting your act together and securing my lifelong dreams.

9. Who is your greatest influence?
Anyone who creates with pure intent, from the heart. Too many writers to count, but also a multitude of illustrators. Isabelle Allende, Marc Martin, Anna Walker, Gus Gordon, Lane Smith. My late grandfather, Wilfred Winter, author, historian, photographer, journalist, will be a lifelong inspiration.

10. What/who made you start writing and illustrating?
It’s in my blood – my grandfather was a journalist and historical author, and writing is just something I’ve always done. I had my first poem published when I was eight and I never really stopped (the poem was called Slowly - did I foresee the future?). It’s like oxygen to me. Illustration came back to me in my early 40s after a 25+ year hiatus. It's made me almost completely complete.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Originality. Because like many a precious and rare thing, I’m obsessed with it. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. Anyone who has ever read these books will know why. Pure magic.

Bonus round: advice to wannabe writers and illustrators. Write. Illustrate. Endlessly. Don't look up. Don't look sideways. Run your own race. Comparison is the thief of joy, and the greatest happiness is found in the creative process NOT the end result. If you can learn this now, success will be yours.