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

Saturday 18 January 2014

12 Curly Questions with author Helen Ross

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I sometimes wear a pink wig around the house – for fun.

2. What is your nickname?
Hellie. In high school (middle years) it was ‘Hurk’ as I used to run, with one of my girl friends, through the school’s side garden bush grunting ‘Hrrrrrk’. So my girlfiriend nicknamed me ‘Hercules’. Then it was shortened to ‘Herk’, then ‘Hurk’. We replaced the ‘e’ with ’u’ because we thought it looked better. I used to finish off my English class assignments, signed ‘Hurk’. Oh the whimsy of being a teenager.

3. What is your greatest fear?
I do have a couple but won’t divulge as I try not to focus on any fears as I believe you can ‘bring’ them on. However, I do have lots of things I wish to accomplish so would be disappointed if I left this planet before I had achieved them. One is to be involved in the ‘Save the Orangutan’, learn the saxophone, travel more, and so on.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
In terms of my children’s writing: A mixture of fun, creativity, and education.

In terms of my article writing: Quirky with a sense of honesty and openness.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Quirky, perfectionist, patient, honest, creative

6. What book character would you be, and why?
The type of character I would like to be would be something (or someone) independent, quirky, and creative who dances to the beat of her own drum whilst still being a compassionate person. As such, a book character I love is Millie from Stephen Michael King’s Millie, Jack and the Dancing Cat. Millie is extremely creative and discovers the joy of being herself.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
Paris in the1920s. Loved the art, literature, fashion and décor. In the 1920s, Paris was known as the center of modernism in art and literature.

8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
Do what makes you happy.

9. Who is your greatest influence?
My Dad. He always instilled in my sister and me to be the best we can always be, and not to measure ourselves alongside others - but like ourselves for who we are.

10. What/who made you start writing?
A gorilla named Lulu. As part of a drama assignment (in my mid 20s) I had to write and ‘perform’ a poem, or piece about an animal, as selected by a ‘lucky dip’. My animal was the gorilla and so I penned my first poem, Lulu, the gorgeous gorilla. At 29, and being occupied with a new found romance, I found myself neglecting my drama classes and spending time alone writing ‘heart felt’ poetry while waiting for the phone to ring. Yes, pitiful! I then enrolled in a correspondence course, ‘Diploma in Writing’ with The Writing School (formerly NSW Writing School).

These moments were the sparks that ignited my writing passion.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Create. However, if I was able to give three of my favourite words, they would be ‘Just do it!’.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I have read so many books that I would love to re-read. Just can’t recall all the titles.

However, if I can indulge here, one of my favourite poems is ‘The Owl and the Pussy Cat’ by Edward Lear. This has been a favourite of mine since childhood (first heard it in primary school). I am always re-reading it. I love quirky poems.

Helen's latest picture book is A Christmas Tail published by Spider Ink Press in October 2013. You can read our review here. Visit Helen's website to find out more about her books and poetry, take a look at her blog, Helen Ross Writes, or chat with her on Twitter (@HelenRossAuthor).

If you are an author or illustrator who thinks they are BRAVE enough to answer our questions, 
OR if there is an author or illustrator you would like to hear from, LET US KNOW! 
We will see if they are up to the task. Just email: susanATkids-bookreviewDOTcom