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

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

10 Quirky Questions with author Lian Tanner

1. What's your hidden talent? 
Drawing. When I was a kid, the two things I loved most (apart from horses) were writing and drawing. Writing won by a whisker, but I rather wish I'd pursued both of them, and could be an author/illustrator.

2. Who is your favourite literary villain and why? 
At the moment it's Lord Rump in Accidental Heroes, because he is such a delight to write. But it's probably cheating to have one of my own characters, so I'll go for the thoroughly despicable Gwendolyn Chant in Diana Wynne Jones' Charmed Life. She is completely selfish, to the point where she is willing to risk her own brother's life for a bit of power. I imagine she was a delight to write too.

3. You're hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors would you invite (alive or dead)? 
Ursula Le Guin, Diana Wynne Jones, Dorothy Dunnett, Melina Marchetta, and Lois Bujold. All of whom are my writing heroes.

4. Which literary invention do you wish was real? 
The wardrobe in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

5. What are five words that describe your writing process? 
Chaotic, hopeful, solitary, slow, meandering.

6. Which are the five words you would like to be remembered by as a writer? 
A book to disappear into.

7. Picture your favourite writing space. What are five objects you would find there? 
A view. (Is that an object? Never mind, I'm having it anyway.) My cat Harry. (He's not an object either, but I'm having him too.) A really nice teapot. A bookcase that wraps around the whole room. A daybed.

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!)
Barren plains swooped up to the sky, with eagles hovering on the air streams above them. (Mysterious Herbs & Roots: Ancient Secrets for Beautie, Health, Magick, Prevention and Youth)

9. If you could ask one author one question, what would the question be and who would you ask? 
I don't think there’s a question that I want to ask any particular author. Every author's process is different; everyone has to work out their own way of doing things. This isn't to say I don't have writing heroes, because I do. And it's not to say that I'm not curious, either. Because I am. I just can't think of a question.

10. Which would you rather do: 'Never write another story or never read another book'? 
My first answer to this was 'never write another story', because I couldn't imagine going without books to read. But then I thought about how agonising it would be to read other people's books, and have all sorts of story ideas flying through my head, and not be able to write my own. So I'm going to go with 'never read another book', though the idea of either choice fills me with horror.


Lian Tanner is a children's author and playwright. She has worked as a teacher in Australia and Papua New Guinea, a tourist bus driver, a freelance journalist, a juggler, a community arts worker, an editor and a professional actor. It took her a while to realise that all of these jobs were really just preparation for being a writer. Nowadays she lives by the beach in southern Tasmania, with a small tabby cat and lots of friendly neighbourhood dogs. She has not yet mastered the art of Concealment by the Imitation of Nothingness, but she is quite good at Camouflage. For more information, see www.liantanner.com.au.

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