Golly! Well, it’s hardly scandalous but not many people know that what I really want to do before I die – more than anything – is learn to surf.
2. What is your nickname?
I have about a hundred because hardly anyone calls me by my real name, but I guess the main ones are D (my family), Beans (my childhood friends) and dbell or db (most of the rest!).
3. What is your greatest fear?
Being put in jail for a crime I didn’t commit and nobody believing that I was innocent, then never being able to go outside or see the sky.
4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
A bit of laughter, a few tears, something for everyone.
5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Always willing to try again.
6. What book character would you be, and why?
Best question ever! I think I would be Milly Molly Mandy. She has such a big, warm, happy family. And she has three first names. Who wouldn’t want three first names? I dig her cute hair, her pink-and-white-striped dresses, her love of freshly made jam. I’d love love love to live in a cottage with a thatched roof. Milly Molly Mandy is living the dream.
7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I know I should say something like ‘I’d go back to prehistoric times and see what colour dinosaurs really were’ or ‘I’d travel to 2154 and see if they still have iPads’. But if I really could time travel, do you know what I’d do? I’d go back to October of the year 2000, when I stayed with my favourite aunty in her house in a little Scottish village by the seaside, and I’d relive the time I had with her there. She died a few years ago, and I miss her so much that I’d give up the chance to see all the secrets of the universe if it meant we could hang out again.
8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
‘Why the hoop aren’t you a marine biologist specialising in dolphin communication?? I thought we had a pact.’ Also: ‘Why do I have a fringe at a time when it’s brutally unpopular to have a fringe? Don’t you care that I’m a social outcast?’ And lastly: ‘Urgh. Your posture is terrible.’
9. Who is your greatest influence?
I have a god-daughter who has autism. She can’t speak or communicate; in all likelihood she’ll never be able to. But she’s so special to me that everything I try to do is, in a tiny way, for her and the life that she can’t lead herself. She’s my greatest influence, tied with Astroboy, who was a cartoon character in the 80s.
10. What/who made you start writing?
When I was three, my brother and sister had a huge fight, and my sister refused to say sorry. Mum gave her a pencil and paper to write an apology note, and I took it and wrote two words on it very neatly: ‘pip’ and ‘pop’. Nobody had ever shown me how to write, so they all thought it was a pretty big deal, and I remember getting buckets of attention, which never happens to the youngest child in a family, like me. From then on, words had a special magic for me, and I read so much when I was a kid that it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that I loved writing.
11. What is your favourite word and why?
Moonbeam, of course. Isn’t that everyone’s favourite word?
12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Every year since I was sixteen I have read The Great Gatsby, so I guess it would be that. Every line is so tight and perfect. It’s so familiar to me now that starting it again is like sinking back into a gloriously comfy couch in a room filled with sunlight.
Davina Bell is the author of the Alice books in the Our Australian Girl series.
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