I can draw a pretty darn good map of Australia free-hand.
2. Who is your favourite literary villain and why?
Edmund in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In a way, I think he’s even more of a villain than the White Witch. He knows exactly how to exploit his siblings’ weaknesses, which makes him tragic and fascinating and human. Edmund reminds me that we all have a villain inside us.
3. You're hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors would you invite? (alive or dead)
Zadie Smith to chat with Barack Obama, Brene Brown to listen to David Foster Wallace, and Jonathan Franzen to watch it all go down and whisper his observations to me.
4. Which literary invention do you wish was real?
I moved to the country about a year ago, and I have to drive three hours to the city pretty regularly. It’s surprising how often I find myself wishing the floo powder was real – that magic dust in Harry Potter that enabled people to travel from fireplace to fireplace instantaneously.It would really cut down on my petrol costs.
5. What are five words that describe your writing process?
All the doubts and fears.
6. Which are the five words you would like to be remembered by as a writer?
All the happy/sad feelings.
7. Picture your favourite writing space. What are five objects you would find there?
My big, faithful iMac, a vase of roses from my garden, a hanging moss ball, a cup of tea and a big, sunny window.
8. Grab the nearest book, open it to page 22 and look for the second word in the first sentence. Now, write a line that starts with that word. (Please include the name of the book!)
Laurinda by Alice Pung. The word is ‘all’.
All Tomorrow’s Parties – that was the nickname of their car and they loved it, that car, because when they were all in the car together, they were as much of a family as they could be with the middle seat empty now.
9. If you could ask one author one question, what would the question be and who would you ask?
I would ask Alice Munro if she knew – really knew – how much joy she had brought to the world. Then I would say thank you.
10. Which would you rather do: 'Never write another story or never read another book'?
Never write another story – easy! Writing brings me equal parts torture and bliss, whereas reading is mostly just pleasure and wonder and awe.
Davina Bell is an Australian writer and editor. She has contributed to the wonderful historical junior fiction series Our Australian Girl, sharing a year in the life of Alice, a ballerina growing up in Perth during World War I. Her latest story and first picture book, The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade (KBR review), is illustrated by Allison Colpoys and published by Scribe Publications. Visit Davina's website for more information about her books and writing.