I used to play keyboards and sing backing vocals in a guitar-driven cover band in the 80s. Our first gig was in a bikie headquarters in Doveton.
2. What is your nickname?
Mega (short for Megadeth) or simply M.
3. What is your greatest fear?
All my teeth falling out. I have dreams about it, where I’m stumbling around trying to pick them up from the ground. I clean my teeth obsessively every night as a precaution.
4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
An agoniser rather than a splurger – self-editing as I go.
5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Playful chocolate-fuelled deadline-meeter.
6. What book character would you be, and why?
Jo March from Little Women. She’s hot-tempered and feisty, and not bound by convention or stereotypes. She is also a great reader and writer – climbing trees to read books while munching on apples, and writing and performing plays with her siblings. These were both things I did in my own childhood. I also loved the way she could use her imagination to turn dreary chores into great adventures: imagining each side of a bedsheet that was being hemmed by hand was a different continent, and recounting the people and animals that could be found there as she and her sisters stitched it.
7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
1973, when the Rolling Stones played at Kooyong Stadium. I’m still kicking myself I didn’t go. (I did sneak into the back of the Who concert at the Myer Music Bowl that year however, to see Keith Moon play.)
8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
You remembered how important dogs are! Make sure you always have some in your life.
9. Who is your greatest influence?
In terms of writing: all the hundreds of brilliant writers, journalists and poets who’ve filled my head with words over the years and showed me interesting ways to make them fit together. In terms of work ethic: my father, who worked hard all his life, and my partner, the indefatigable Paul Collins.
10. What/who made you start writing?
I was lucky enough to grow up in a house where books and stories were as important and nourishing as the food on the table. We also read and recited lots of poetry: the poems of AA Milne and CJ Dennis, and Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales for Children. Rhythm and rhyme were always in my head. It just seemed natural to me to create and write down my own stories – I started doing this when I was about six and had my first poem published when I was eight – for which I was paid a substantial amount of money at the time. That was enough for me to decide I wanted to be a writer – I even had a pen-name picked out! I haven’t stopped since – though it took a long time before I was paid again
11. What is your favourite word and why?
Serendipity. For both its delicious sound and meaning.
12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
One Thousand and One Nights – should keep me going for a while! But I also love – and reread often – The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild.
Meredith Costain's latest book, My First Day at School, is illustrated by Michelle Mackintosh and published by Windy Hollow Books. Visit Meredith's website to find out more about her books and events.
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