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

Saturday 9 May 2015

12 Curly Questions with author Gabrielle Williams

1. Can you tell us something hardly anyone knows about you?
I’m a werewolf.

No, actually, that’s not true. I was just trying to be interesting and mysterious. In fact, I don’t have any big secrets, because I’m one of those blurt-out-everything type people. I guess the one thing hardly anyone knows about me is the direction my sequel to The Guy The Girl The Artist & His Ex is taking. I’ve got a pretty unique structure for this next book and I’m absolutely loving how it’s coming along, but I’m afraid I can’t tell you more than that because, well, because it’s a secret.

2. Do you have a nickname and if so, what is it?
I have a theory about nicknames. I think they’re more of a guy-type thing than a girl-type thing. I don’t have a nickname, and none of my girlfriends have them, but my husband has one (Wilbur – which is particularly cute I think) and all our guy friends have them. I don’t know, maybe I’m being sexist, and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of women with nicknames who’ll shout me down, but as a general rule, I don’t think girls have nicknames. Anyway, I don’t have one. I’d like one, but no-one’s ever given me one.

3. What is your greatest fear?
That’s a bit like naming my favourite book or my favourite song: I have so many, it’s unfair to pick one over all the others. I’m scared of heights, enclosed spaces, sharks, drunk drivers, bad drivers, L-plate drivers, people using ice, breaking my neck skiing, negative reviews, the list is endless.

4. Can you describe your writing style for us in ten words?
It’s hard to answer that myself, but if someone was reading one of my books, the ten words I’d like them to use to describe my style would be: original, quirky, interesting, different, unique, funny, pacey, clever, literary and relatable.

5. Can you give us five positive words that describe you as a writer?
Hoo boy, you’re not kidding when you call this ‘Twelve Curly Questions’ - there are some doozies in here! Okay, five positive words to describe myself as a writer? Conscientious, flexible, open-minded, ideas-based and punctual (I know that’s a strange one to throw in there, but I take my publishing deadlines very seriously and never miss them).

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Probably the characters that are most similar to me are the ones in my own books. Penny from ‘The Guy The Girl The Artist & His Ex’ is very similar to me because I was a single mother and so is she. Also, her taste in music and the short peroxide-blonde haircut she has are mine from the eighties. Plus, she has a bastard ex, and I had a couple of those back in the day.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I’d go straight back to 1987, because that’s when my sequel to The Guy The Girl The Artist & His Ex is set, and I want to make sure I’ve got the flavor of it exactly right.

8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
She’d say, ‘you’re a writer? What happened to all that ballet we did?’

9. Who is your greatest influence?
One of the big influences in my life is my older sister, Genny. She is one of the most original thinkers I’ve ever met in my life. She marches to her own unique beat, and has always stayed true to herself, no matter what.

10. What or who made you start writing?
I worked in advertising throughout my twenties as a copywriter, and I absolutely loved it. I loved coming up with ideas and I feel like I had quite a good radar for what was genuinely good and what was ‘advertising crap’. But when I was 26 I became a mum, and because I chose to work part-time after my daughter was born (which was quite unusual back in those days) I started getting the jobs no-one else wanted: the catalogues and the brochures, boring boring boring. Suddenly all that creative satisfaction I’d gotten from my job was gone. Kaput. So I decided to start writing my own stuff – books and films – in order to satisfy my creative cravings.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
I love the word, ‘cornucopia’, but I don’t get to use it a lot. I was very pleased to see that Suzanne Collins managed to work it into The Hunger Games.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life what would it be?
Only reading one book for the rest of my life would be quite torturous: I like reading lots of different things. However, if I absolutely HAD to, I think the book I’d choose would be, Wuthering Heights because it’s so layered, the characters are so tortured, and the plot is so gothic (I’d also sneak in Tess of the D’Urbervilles and To Kill A Mockingbird and The God of Small Things and Bel Canto and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant and The Book Thief and a couple of others. But don’t tell anyone because I’m only supposed to have one).

Gabrielle Williams is an Australian author of young adult fiction. Her books include the critically acclaimed Beatle Meets Destiny and The Reluctant Hallelujah. Her latest book is The Guy, The Girl, The Artist and His Ex, published by Allen & Unwin. 

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