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

Tuesday 17 October 2017

12 Curly Questions with author Laura Bunting

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
My mum bought me a lucky rock from a shaman 15 years ago, and it comes along to anything important in my life – births of babies, job interviews, overseas travel. I’m not a superstitious person, but this rock is genuinely kind of freaky.

2. What is your nickname? 
Mo, courtesy of my husband (and co-book-creator) Philip Bunting.
He rarely calls me Laura. It had something to do with me mispronouncing the name of a monkey (a marmoset) when we first started dating – no idea why we were talking about marmosets though! That’s kind of weird.

3. What is your greatest fear? 
Clowns. My teenage sisters let me watch a horror movie with them when I was four or five. The child in the movie had exactly the same clown-covered doona and curtains as I did in my room. And things did not end well for him. At all. It scarred me for life.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words. 
Lightbulb moment. Furious bursts of writing. Procrastination. Lots of editing.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Curious, playful, imaginative, persistent, excited.

6. What book character would you be, and why? 
Roald Dahl’s Matilda. She’s brave but not in a brash way, subtly mischievous and a voracious reader. Plus, who wouldn’t want to have telekinetic powers that meant they could take down bullies and sadistic headmistresses with nothing more than a look?

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why? 
I’m not so interested in visiting the past – we have enough record of that. I’d be more curious to venture forwards to see what 2400 will be like. I’d love to meet my great-great-great grandchildren (and hear the history of our family after I left the picture), and I’d like to see how much or little life has changed. Will we be living until we’re 200? Will a house cost $4 billion dollars? Will we have solved the global warming crisis? Will people still be taking selfies? Will a dusty old copy of Koalas Eat Gum Leaves still live on in the attic of one of those great-great-great grandchildren? Ah, man. I really want to time travel now!

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now? 
Hey, we wrote a book. That’s so cool And it’s about a koala. Well, we’ve always loved Aussie animals, haven’t we? Remember the first books I wrote about a rainbow lorikeet and a wombat? Why didn’t you use any of my ideas, huh? Maybe next time. Oh, and I thought we were going to marry Donny from New Kids on the Block?

9. Who is your greatest influence? 
In terms of writing, it has to be Roald Dahl, hands down. I love that he never treated you like a kid. It was like he gave you a glimpse into a world you weren’t meant to have access to, where things were a bit meaner and nastier than your parents led you to believe (like parents being killed off by rhinos on the first page and girls getting hammer-thrown out of the school yard by their pigtails courtesy of the headmistress). That was thrilling as a child. I guess that’s why I like a bit of irreverence and lots of humour in kids’ books. It certainly kept me turning the pages. My kids are currently obsessed with The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me and I’m absolutely loving getting a second chance to immerse myself in his books.

10. What/who made you start writing? 
In general, it was a natural progression borne from my love of books and fascination with words. And then I fell head-over-heels in love with picture books when I started reading them to my own children. Our mutual love of book-time bonded us together as a little family like nothing else, and I desperately wanted to be involved in bringing that joy to other families.

11. What is your favourite word and why? 
Hughnormous – a creation of my four-year-old son, Leo. But, hey, if Roald Dahl taught me anything, it’s that made-up words can be the best words of all.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
I’m a bit like the koala in our book – I don’t like the idea of only devouring one thing for the rest of my life. Instead, I will share the book on my bedside table waiting to be read: Marie Kondo’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. My current version of tidying up after my two kids contains not even the slightest whiff of magic whatsoever, so I’m pretty keen to hear what she has to say.

Laura Bunting is the author of Koalas Eat Gum Leaves, her first picture book, which she was lucky enough to create with her talented illustrator husband, Philip Bunting (who wrote and illustrated Mopoke). They mostly worked in their pyjamas while the kids were sleeping, and found that ice-cream greatly helped the creative process. They live on the Sunshine Coast with their two children (third on the way) and eternally hungry cat. To find out more, visit www.laurabunting.com.au and www.philipbunting.com.