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

Tuesday 29 October 2013

12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Roland Harvey

1. Can you tell us something hardly anyone knows about you?
I only have five toes on my left foot. I also would have liked to be Groucho Marx.
He said: “Time flies like an arrow; Fruit flies like a banana”.

2. Do you have a nickname?
At school: ‘Harv’ and ‘Harfless’. Also ‘Roly’, at the moment: ‘Rolie’, and in my first job: ’Lurch’ and ‘Spasm’ (I think I had a twitch).

3. What is your greatest fear?
That I will die knowing the beautiful Australian environment has been trashed and I didn’t do enough about it and no-one will care.

4. Can you describe your writing style for us in ten words?
Humorous, quirky, ‘Zany’, irreverent, correctly punctuated and spelled,  eccentric, devious, informative, unpredictable, always with the right number of words…

5. What are five positive words that describe you as a writer?
Spasmodic, creative, thorough, enthusiastic, shabbily-dressed.

6. If you could be any book character, what character would you be and why?
Ratty; he is brave and resourceful, fearless, shrewd, loyal, kind, honest, and unselfish. And he lived on a river.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I would go to 1914, to meet my dad. I’d like to see what sort of boy he was at sixteen, before he went to the War. Or:  1468, when Leonardo da Vinci was 16. I’d spend a day with him, asking questions and watching him work.

8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
“Listen, son; whatever you do, don’t listen to silly old goats like me. And study art, literature and design as well as science”.

9. Who is your greatest influence? 
Probably my kids, in a lot of different ways. They help me shed the old ways of thinking, and look for the new. In my drawing, Ronald Searle and Ralph Steadman.

10. What or who made you start writing?
A real inner need to make up stories, although I wasn’t good at it. My big brother and little sister made me tell them stories to put them to sleep.

My first book was at age 8 and was a collection of leaves and mosses from the forest. It had a rotten log in it as well. My stories came after developing my drawing, if that makes sense. I really write around my picture ideas.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
My favourite word is “schmozzle”. It could mean anything. ‘She hit it on the schmozzle’. ‘ He couldn’t give a schmozzle’. ‘She schmozzled up to him’. In Scrabble it’s got two 10s and that’s a winner even without a triple word score. And you can even live in one.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
 The Transit of Venus by Margaret Drabble. I have read the first quarter of it about 20 times. It’s a good book, but for some reason I don’t get to finish it. So there would always be something to look forward to.
OR: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. I love the way he writes.

Roland Harvey is the author/illustrator of numerous books including the wonderful family holiday adventure picture book series that includes On the Farm (KBR review), All the Way to W.A. (KBR review), To the Top End (KBR review), In the City, In the Bush and At the Beach. Roland's latest books include Everything We Ever Saw, a compilation of the six family holiday adventures, and The Wombats Go on Camp. Find out more at Roland Harvey's website.

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