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

Tuesday 10 May 2016

10 Quirky Questions with Johanna Bell

Photo credit: Sarah Mackie
1. What's your hidden talent?
I have a crazily good sense of smell. I can smell things way before I see them, which can be great for avoiding stinky situations but it can also get pretty annoying. Sometimes I have to leave the room if someone is wearing really strong perfume.

2. Who is your favourite literary villain and why?
My favourite kind of villain is the one you love and hate at the same time, the everyday, likeable person with a twisted, dark side.

3. You're hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors would you invite? (alive or dead)
Ooooh ….so hard to choose. As far as picture book heroes go, I would have to invite Alison Lester, Sally Rippen, Oliver Jeffers, Roald Dahl and Shaun Tan. If I could invite illustrators too, I would sneak in Freya Blackwood and Anna Walker.

4. Which literary invention do you wish was real?
Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing. It’s such a cute combination of huggable and lonely.

5. What are five words that describe your writing process?
Slow. Bumpy. Sometimes-frenzied. Exciting. Energizing.

6. Which are the five words you would like to be remembered by as a writer?
Bold. Playful. Magical. Reflective. Prolific.

7. Picture your favourite writing space. What are five objects you would find there?
Ooooooh... at the moment I write on a slither of desk in my teeny, tiny bedroom and I’m often fanaticizing about where I might write. There would be wooden walls, big windows looking out onto bush, an uncluttered desk, a hot cup of tea and a floor to ceiling bookshelf filled with … you guessed it … books.

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!)
The book is I Remember by Joe Brainard. The word is remember.

Remember when we used to skip stones down at the Falls, before mum’s accident?  

9. If you could ask one author one question, what would the question be and who would you ask?
It is rare that I would only ask one question (my friends have described me as verbose), but if one question was all I had, I would aim it at Graeme Base “Who really stole the feast in the Eleventh Hour?”

10. Which would you rather do: 'Never write another story or never read another book'?
So difficult, but I think I would prefer to never read another book because in theory, I could write books and then read them. If I stopped reading altogether, the books I write would probably be pretty rubbish though.

Johanna Bell is an Australian author living in the Northern Territory. She is the author of the picture book Too Many Cheeky Dogs, illustrated by Dion Beasley. Johanna's latest book, another collaboration with Dion Beasley, is Go Home, Cheeky Animals! Both books are published by Allen & Unwin. Visit the Too Many Cheeky Dogs website and Facebook page for more information about Johanna and her writing projects.