I’m the youngest child of a youngest child of a youngest child. According to tradition, this means that my life absolutely has to be magical in some way. I keep expecting to fall down a well and find myself in another country, where geese lay golden eggs and old ladies are not at all what they seem to be. Or maybe I’ll wake up one morning and be able to understand the language of dogs and cats and wombats.
2. Do you have a nickname?
Not these days, I don’t. For a while at school I was called Splinter, because I was tall and thin. Or maybe it was because I was really annoying and got under people’s skin! Whatever the reason, it’s quite a nice nickname, now I look at it. I don’t think I liked it much at the time, though.
3. What is your greatest fear?
Being stuck somewhere horrible without a good book to read. I can put up with quite a lot as long as I’ve got a book – but without it? Noooooooooo!
4. Can you describe your writing style for us in ten words?
Messy, adventurous, slow, tearing my hair, really bad first drafts.
5. Can you give us five positive words that describe you as a writer?
Exciting, nail-biting, bold, intuitive, compassionate.
6. What book character would you most like to be, and why?
I’d like to be Goldie, in the Keepers trilogy, partly because she’s a lot braver than I am, and partly because I would really like to be able to Imitate Nothingness. AND I’d get to have a brizzlehound for a friend, which would be just about the coolest thing I could imagine.
7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I often think about this and wonder the same thing. I think I’d probably go back to the days before European settlement in Tasmania. I’d love to see (and smell and hear) what it was like. Or I’d go back to when my parents met in the Northern Territory during the Second World War, and see what they were like when they were in their 20s.
8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
I think she’d be pleased and amazed that I’m writing the sort of books that she loved to read. She’d say, ‘Keep going! I want to see what happens next!’
9. Who is your greatest influence?
Probably my mum, because she’s the one who taught me to love books when I was very small. I remember her reading to me while she was doing the washing up, which showed great dedication on her part! And when I started writing stories and poems, she was always encouraging and said good things about them.
10. What or who made you start writing?
All the wonderful books I read when I was a kid. The Jungle Book, the Narnia series, The Silver Brumby. And the wonderfully exciting world of Violet Needham, who wrote about spies and betrayals and assassins, and wild coach rides through the night. I adored reading them, and one day it struck me that it might be even more fun writing them.
11. What is your favourite word and why?
It changes all the time. But at the moment? Brizzlehound. Maybe because I invented it, but to me it sounds so exciting. And more than a bit dangerous.
12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Lord of the Rings by JRR Tokien. I re-read it every few years, and it’s always exciting, and I always find something new in it.
Lian Tanner is the author of the popular middle fiction series, The Keepers. Click on the links to read our reviews of the Keepers books: Museum of Thieves, City of Lies and Path of Beasts. Lian's latest book, Ice Breaker (The Hidden Series #1) is published by Allen & Unwin and is available now online and in all good bookstores. Visit Lian Tanner's website to find out more about her books and latest news updates.
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