I am so short sighted that when I am reading without glasses or contact lenses and I turn the page, it touches my nose. That’s how I can do such detail in my books; I take off my glasses and get really close to the page.
2. What is your nickname?
Funnily enough my nickname is Tina because my real name is Christina, but no one calls me that. And my uncle Harvey (who the boy in A Great Cake is named after) used to call me Titi sometimes, which is ‘muttonbird’ in Maori. I don’t think Harvey knew that and I’m not very muttony.
3. What is your greatest fear?
That the huge human herd which now lives on planet earth will wipe out all other life and itself in the process. What a shame that would be when so many other good futures are ready and waiting for us.
4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
I only use words to say what the pictures can’t.
5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
persistent, optimistic, intrepid, tenacious, easily amused
6. What book character would you be, and why?
PippiLongstocking- because she is strong and brave and has such fun.
7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I would travel to Victoria in 1876 and visit my great grandmother AdahTeychene and ask her about the sea voyage from England during which she climbed the mast in her sleep. I would tell her that the indigenous Australians have the oldest continuous culture on earth and how much they still suffer in 2014 from the occupation of their lands in 1788. I would tell her how much my father, her grandson, talked about her to his children. Then we would go for a swim at Lakes Entrance.
8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
Aren’t you pleased I spent so much of my time making stuff?
9. Who is your greatest influence?
Herge author of the Tintin books.
10. What/who made you start writing?
My parents and brothers and sister took me to the library and read to me. That made me love the detail of picture books. Loving them made me think about making them. Getting the first book published made me keep going with making picture books.
11. What is yourfavourite word and why?
Wonderful - because our world is endlessly so. And if we humans could all agree that friends and family, food and shelter, nature and stories are what matters most, and that public places and wild spaces are good for everyone and everything THEN what a wonderfuller world it would be!
12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Harold and the Purple Crayon because you can go anywhere and do anything.
Tina Matthews is an award-winning New Zealand-born author and illustrator who now lives in Sydney, Australia. Her picture books include A Great Cake (KBR review) and Out of the Egg (KBR review). Her latest picture book, So Many Wonderfuls (KBR review), was published by Walker Books in August 2014. Visit Tina's website to find out more about her books and other creative pursuits.
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