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

Tuesday 12 August 2014

12 Curly Questions with author Jen Banyard

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I was in a plane crash when I was thirteen. I was travelling with my sister back to Perth from Papua New Guinea. Taking off in Sydney, our TAA plane clipped the tail of a stray Canadian Airlines jet, exposing our fuel tanks and control lines, and setting the right wing alight. We were able to land after an hour or so, but it was all pretty close.

2. What is your nickname? 
My big brothers called me Slogga. As a little kid, I was kinda chunky and hard to topple. (Still am.)

3. What is your greatest fear?
I’m a bit claustrophobic. Luckily, I’ve never been seriously put to the test, though I got stuck in a wetsuit in a change cubicle once.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words. 

Chatty, warm, upbeat, deceptive, sensitive, filmic, sometimes dark, always positive.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Optimistic, observant, receptive, resilient, appreciative.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Jo March in Little Women is one. She’s honest, intelligent, courageous and goes after her dreams against the odds. (It’s been yonks since I read the book. I hope she doesn’t do anything off by today’s standards.)

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
Going to the future might make me more grateful for what I now have, but it could be too depressing or scary, then, coming back. I’d go with being fourteen again (1972) and reliving those intense incursions into the delights – but not the responsibilities – of adulthood.

8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
You spent all those years holding back from writing fiction because you thought you’d never get published? That was pretty slack, wasn’t it? And dumb! (And do you really think you should be tinting your hair?)

9. Who is your greatest influence? 
My mum is a warm, ebullient woman who has always allowed me to feel loved and secure; my dad, though overseas through my teens and twenties, was a wry, gentle man who wrote terrific relaxed, funny letters. In terms of fiction, I’d probably go with some sort of hybrid of Paul Jennings, Tim Winton and good old Enid B. (I was a ‘Famous Five’ tragic!)

10. What/who made you start writing?
I’d always tinkered with words but thought authors were a different breed. When a friend died young, it seemed sacrilegious to keep dithering and wasting time. I read a time-management book, found out what I needed to about publishing and set about having a real shot at fiction writing.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Right at this moment, it’s ‘shenanigans’ because what would life be without them?

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
Tim Winton’s Dirt Music. It awakens the senses.

Jen Banyard is an Australian author of junior and middle fiction books. Her latest book, Riddle Gully Runaway is published by Fremantle Press and is the sequel to Mystery at Riddle Gully. Visit Jen's website to find out more about her books and other writing and reading resources.

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