I am the proud owner of a Champion Performance Donkey. I’m extra proud of this because I trained him to be a very-useful-donkey-indeed all by myself!
2. What is your nickname?
I don’t really have one. Probably derivations of Debra but definitely not Debbie – it’s just not me.
3. What is your greatest fear?
Plummeting from a height – I’m not good on planes or in elevators!
4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
I don’t have a style just yet – I enjoy experimenting.
5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Curious, enthusiastic, energetic, persistent, considered.
6. What book character would you be, and why?
Christopher Robin – I’d love to live in the 100 acre wood – I live in Sydney but I have serious rural cravings! And I’d love all the animal characters in Winnie-the-pooh to be my friends. I bet you can guess my favourite, though (clue – he has long ears and a gloomy disposition)
7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
It would have to be a year and a place – somewhere in the Regency period in England – with Jane Austin as my ‘bestie’. I love the surface civility and manners of this era, and the mindfulness with which tasks were undertaken, the slowness of life. I don’t know if I could live there, though given the sexual and social inequalities (unless I was independently wealthy or married very well !) but Jane Austin did have a donkey – so that might make it all worthwhile!
8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
WOW – who knew?
9. Who is your greatest influence?
My greatest influence in life, I reckon is my mum – even though she’s dead, I’m sure I’m influenced by being her daughter in million ways each day. And that has to influence my writing. Also my kids – the primal chain is overwhelmingly powerful- isn’t it?! We influence each other. I feel like I’ve neglected my husband, but I think he is more my greatest source of strength and encouragement than influence – if that makes sense?
Of course all of these influences are forged within the meta-narratives of nature, society, culture, religion etc. and they have a profound impact on us all. (Did you expect me to get that deep?)
10. What/who made you start writing?
I think I’ve always enjoyed the process of writing – as a student writing essays, as a social worker writing reports. I love forming ideas into words and how this helps clarify thinking. As a mother, I was moved by the books I shared with my kids and then inspired by their creative writing projects. Somehow I started ‘dabbling’ myself, at a time when my mother was bed-bound with dementia. When I See Grandma was the result. I was encouraged so much in the process by Virginia Lowe at Create a Kids Book that I kept going…
11. What is your favourite word and why?
Discombobulated. I love the sound and the picture it makes in my head of confusion. It is just a perfect word.
12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The Bible –It’s so long that it will take me the rest of my life to read it (I am a slow reader!) It also has a narrative diversity to ponder and the ability to speak into people’s lives. PLUS – it’s a donkey lover’s delight – donkeys are front and centre in the main action.
Debra Tidball is an Australian children's author. Her picture book When I See Grandma (illustrated by Leigh Hedstrom and published by Wombat Books) sensitively deals with the topic of dementia. Visit Debra's website and Facebook page for more information about her books and writing.
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