1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
As a child, I was a bit like Lucy from Peanuts –– I had naturally curly hair, was a tomboy and a bossy-boots! In my defense, I was the oldest of four children.
2. What is your nickname?
I used to be called Nephie –– my little brother’s way of saying Stephanie, but also a reference to my Nefertiti–like profile and long neck!
3. What is your greatest fear?
Not having enough time to write and illustrate all the books that I have jostling for attention in my head!
4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
Constantly searching for the perfect combination of words and ideas.
5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Committed. Enthusiastic. Focused. Pedantic. Obsessed.
6. What book character would you be, and why?
Pippi Longstocking –– she is strong, adventurous, independent and totally idiosyncratic!
7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
Back to 1969, to tell my 18-year-old self to study English rather than languages at university, because that was what I was good at. Maybe then I would have started writing books much earlier, rather than spending 25 years editing politicians –– a very thankless task!
8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
‘Wow! I can’t believe you get paid to write and draw –– my two most favourite things in the whole wide world!’
9. Who is your greatest influence?
As a writer, it is the authors of the books I loved as a child –– including May Gibbs, Norman Lindsay, Lewis Carroll, Kenneth Grahame, Astrid Lindgren, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Eleanor Spence and Philippa Pearce. But most of all it is my family. They inspire all of my books, support me through the writing process, and are just totally awesome people.
10. What/who made you start writing?
There were always books in the house when I was a child, and my dad read to us every night. Writing was the obvious next step, and luckily I had teachers at school who encouraged me. At seven I wrote and illustrated my first ‘book’, and by upper primary I was known at school as ‘the girl who writes stories’. Writing has always been an integral part of who I am.
11. What is your favourite word and why?
Serendipity –– because so often the good things that have happened to me in life have been totally serendipitous!
12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It would be a toss-up between two trilogies –– The Lord of the Rings and His Dark Materials. I love Tolkien and Pullman’s use of language, the breadth of their imaginations, the knowledge of their cultural heritage that underpins their storytelling, and their ability to create uniquely unforgettable characters and settings. I so wish I could write like them!
Learn more about the works of award-winning author/illustrator Stephanie Owen Reeder at www.stephanieowenreeder.com. Her most recent book, Lennie the Legend, shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier's History Awards, is available from National Library Publishing.
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