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

Tuesday 17 January 2017

12 Curly Questions with author Ellie Royce

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I actually grew up in two different countries (Singapore and Malaysia), as my dad was in the army. Very different, but very wonderful.

2. What is your nickname? 
My nickname is Ellie or Elle. My full name is Michelle but I get nervous whenever people use it because the only time my mum ever called me that was when I was in trouble!

3. What is your greatest fear?
That I’ll run out of time to tell all the stories that come to play with me.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words. 
Subtle, gentle, fun, engaging, thoughtful (those are from publisher feedback). Heartfelt, optimistic, sometimes funny, quirky (those are mine).

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Hopeful, curious, open, playful, persistent.

6. What book character would you be, and why? 
Phryne Fisher, that daring, wonderful detective heroine of Kerry Greenwood’s books - because she does exactly what she wants, is smart, kind, brave and gorgeous and gets to wear the most beautiful clothes.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why? 
See the above question! I love the 1920s and I have a yearning to write a book about a girl who time travels back to 1920-something, in Sydney. I know it wasn’t all fun and flappers, but I still love it and there’s nothing like firsthand research.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now? 
You’re no Enid, but thanks for trying.

9. Who is your greatest influence? 
Oooh. I think my daughters have a great influence over my writing, and obviously over my life. When they were little I got a lot of ideas from their experiences and how they dealt with different situations. I still do, sort of. They’re very good at reading my work and giving useful feedback too and they keep me up-to-date with the latest social media and digital technologies that a writer needs to know about.

10. What/who made you start writing? 
I’m not sure. All my childhood heroines wrote: Anne, from Anne of Green Gables, and Jo March, from Little Women, and I just adored books and reading as far back as I can remember. I think I just always wanted to tell stories. I’ve since found out that my great-grandmother Lucy Jane Moore used to write children’s stories for the local paper in Adelaide - now almost 100 years ago - as well as running the first private lending library in Adelaide in the corner of her general store. I have the emerald-green leather portfolio that belonged to her, still with the ink marks on it where she wiped her pen. So I think perhaps it’s in my genes and writing of some sort was inevitable. Aren’t I lucky?

11. What is your favourite word and why? 
My favourite word is serendipitous. I love this word, partly because it’s tongue twisting and delightful to say and partly because it expresses such a hopeful, optimistic view of life; serendipitous things can happen every day if we only keep our eyes, ears and hearts open. I notice many writers choose this word for their favourite so can I cheat and slip in my second favourite? Shenanigans. I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Gosh, this was the curliest question of all. I had to think and think and came up with lots of PC and cheat answers but finally I decided on Anne of the Island, by LM Montgomery. I’m not sure why exactly. It’s not the most famous of the 'Anne' books, but I love it, her independence, her university life and the romance. Ah, might pull that one out and read it again.

Michelle 'Ellie' Royce has been a freelance feature writer for magazines in Australia and New Zealand since 1996. Her real love, however, is fiction (children's and young adult in particular). Ellie’s first picture book Lucas and Jack (Working Title Press) was published in 2014. For more details, see www.ellieroyceauthor.com.