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

Tuesday 7 February 2017

12 Curly Questions with author Kate Mildenhall

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
At high school I played the trombone. I had thought it would be terribly romantic to play the cello or the flute or something more … dainty, but clearly that’s not where my talent lay. In the end, I adored being one of the girls in the brass section. We rocked.

2. What is your nickname? 
I always desperately wanted a nickname, but Kate never needed shortening. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I’ll get Milders or Mouldy.

3. What is your greatest fear? 
I used to be terrified of heights, but I’ve spent a lot of summers with a very tall, steep sand dune, and I’m pleased to say I’ve grown much braver.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words. 
Free-wheeling and true. I aim for all the big feels. 

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Curious. Tenacious. Feverish. Heartfelt. Pantser.

6. What book character would you be, and why? 
It is very hard for me to go past Anne of Green Gables. I adored her, and still do. Vivacious and quick and clever and brave. I can’t wait for my daughters to meet her when they read my cherished copy of the book.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why? 
My book Skylarking is based on a true story, and I would so very dearly like to go back to Cape St George Lighthouse in the early 1880s and meet the real Kate, upon whom my character is based. I would make us a pot of tea and we would talk and talk and talk.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now? 
Oh my goodness. You really wrote a book. That’s in a bookshelf. With your name on the cover.

9. Who is your greatest influence? 
There are many wonderful people I know, and writers and thinkers who have had a huge influence on me; but right now, I would have to say that my two daughters have taught me more about myself than I thought possible (or, let’s face it, really wanted to know). The way they approach the world, and the way they have changed how I approach it, has greatly influenced who I am today.

10. What/who made you start writing? 
Our house was chock-full of books and my mum wrote us poems and stories when we were young. I thought they were wonderful. As a child I wrote poetry (didn’t we all) and got the bug. I stopped for a few years when I left high school because I didn’t think I was very good at it. I know now that a lack of self-belief is not a very good reason to stop. I credit the birth of my kids, and reading Lisa Jacobson’s The Sunlit Zone, with getting me back on the writing horse.

11. What is your favourite word and why? 
Autumnal. The sound of it in the mouth is golden and red and delicious.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
Only one book?! It’s too traumatic to even consider. But. If I have to – Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant.

Kate Mildenhall is a writer and education project officer, who currently works at the State Library of Victoria. As a teacher, she has worked in schools, at RMIT University and has volunteered with Teachers Across Borders, delivering professional development to Khmer teachers in Cambodia. She lives with her husband and two young daughters in Hurstbridge, Victoria. Her debut novel, Skylarking, was in Readings bookstore's Top Ten Fiction Books of 2016 and longlisted for Debut Fiction in The Indie Book Awards 2017. For more information, see www.katemildenhall.com.