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

Tuesday 17 April 2018

12 Curly Questions with author Dianne Wolfer

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
After leaving college I lived in a remote part of western Nepal for almost a year, tutoring children. Home was a mud-brick room on someone’s roof next to a field. No electricity or running water and I hiked for an hour up a mountain to teach some of my students. There was time and space for creativity. It’s where I began shaping ideas into stories and my first publication was an article called 'Eating out in Kathmandu', in Let’s Travel magazine. One dish was buffalo moussaka.

2. What is your nickname? 
My family call me Didee and my husband calls me Meg after a phascogale in a story I wrote. He believes we share similar qualities (courage, not the tail).

3. What is your greatest fear?
I’m dismayed by the continuing rise of angry leaders who play on people’s fears rather than lead by inspiration, encouragement and positive example. I’m also not a fan of big, hairy spiders.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words. 
Historic, personal, anthropomorphic, passionate, sensitive, compassionate, multi-layered, thoroughly researched, uplifting.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Hardworking, quirky, genre-hopping, heartfelt and fun.

6. What book character would you be, and why? 
It would be an animal. Either Reepicheep, the swashbuckling mouse from Narnia (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), or Iorek Byrnison, the brave and selfless armoured bear (Northern Lights). I admire both characters for their strength of character and for being true to their convictions. They are loyal and true friends and I’d be honoured to be either of them.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why? 
It’s a strange answer but after years of researching WWI in the small English village of Harefield, I’d be curious to go back and see aspects of my story in real-life time. I’d love to meet the nurses and villagers whose stories I’ve explored and to watch Jimmy, the wallaby mascot, hopping through the village. It would also be interesting to cheer at a 1914 suffragette rally and to snatch the baskets off girls giving out white feathers.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now? 
My 10-year-old self lived in Bangkok, went to an international school and loved riding a dragster along our narrow soi to visit the market. I’d tell her to continue embracing different cultures and ways of doing things. Be brave, positive and open-minded. Despite the challenges ahead, life is wonderful.

9. Who is your greatest influence? 
My conscience.

10. What/who made you start writing? 
I can’t not write. I’m forever jotting ideas on scraps of paper.

11. What is your favourite word and why? 
Anthropomorphism, because I spent five years researching animal characters for my PhD. And it’s also a fun word to say.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Oh, that is such a difficult question to answer, but if I have to, then perhaps a haiku anthology of classic Japanese poets like Bashō, Issa and Shiki. 

Dianne is a bookworm who lives on WA’s south-west coast and is the author of 17 books. She loves historical fiction and stories with animal characters. Dianne’s books have won many awards and been adapted for stage and street theatre. In the Lamplight is a partner title for Lighthouse Girl and Light Horse Boy. For more information, see www.diannewolfer.com.