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

Tuesday 7 July 2015

12 Curly Questions with author Sue Lawson

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
Hmmm, that's a tough one. I'm a pretty open about my life and writing, so I'm not sure there is anything I can share that I haven't already.

There is one thing I don't think I've confessed and that's my unique technique of slowing down an opponent when I played hockey for my school.

I was kind of...well... I was fat and slow. I played full back. One time a player was charging down the field with the ball after scattering my teammates. I was the last one left standing before the goalie. She was too quick for me!  I stuck out my stick and hooked it around her ankle.

I know...terrible!

She tumbled over and I smashed the ball out of defense.

By the way, my opponent was unhurt.

Fortunately I'm lighter than I used to be and more even tempered.

2. What is your nickname?
I've had a few, but my most common nickname was my surname. Right through school and university, friends just called me Rizzo.

My brother used to call me Witchypoo (think HR Puffenstuff) or Aunty Jack (maybe that would have been better for the above question than confessing to my hockey disgrace!) but that's a whole other story.

3. What is your greatest fear?
I was pretty anxious kid, so my list of fears was long - spontaneous combustion, getting snagged in the teeth of an escalator, being locked in a shop after closing, bush fire, snakes, leeches, maggots, stone fish, stitches, ghosts...okay, you get the picture.

Now, though I still hate snakes, leeches and maggots, my greatest fear is losing the most important people in my world. That and not having time to do all I want. Pretty sure a couple of bouts of cancer sparked both fears.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
Intense, hopeful, character-driven, authentic, searching, confronting, emotive, Australian, persistent and honest.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Passionate, particular, authentic, emotional and messy. Okay, strike messy, that's not so positive and replace it with honest.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Jem Finch. I love her courage, imagination, curiosity and innocence. Plus, imagine having Atticus as a dad!

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why? 
Gosh, I love history, so nailing it down to one period of time is tough. I think I'd like to go back to the 60s and be part of the Freedom Ride. I am in awe of those student's courage and commitment. As confronting as it would be, I'd love to experience what they did.

8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
What football team do you barrack for? (I was pretty obsessed with footy, Collingwood to be exact...still am!)


So, do you still miss Papa?

9. Who is your greatest influence?
I don't think I can name just one. My grandfather was a huge figure in my life and taught me so much. His daughter and my aunt, Annie, was always there for me, no matter what. And my husband is the fairest, most generous and clever person I know. Then there is my funny, courageous, compassionate daughter. These guys and so many more inspire me constantly.

10. What/who made you start writing?
I always wanted to write, but was too scared (there's that word again) I wouldn't be good at it. But there is nothing like a health crisis to make you reassess what you are doing and not doing. After the first tumour in my spine was removed and I learnt to walk again, I started writing, and haven't stopped since. Wish I could work out why I have to go through it a fifth time. Yeah, I know!

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Onomatopoeia. I can remember the first time I heard it in English class. I loved the rhythm of it and the way it marched off my tongue.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Boy, you ask tough questions. Just one? Probably To Kill a Mockingbird. There are so many layers and such complex emotions handled so deftly.

Sue Lawson is a prize-winning Australian author of picture books and novels for children and teens. Her books include Pan's Whisper, Finding Darcy and After. Sue's latest novel, Freedom Ride, is published by Black Dog Books. Visit Sue's website and Facebook page for more information about her books, author events, and writing workshops.

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