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

Tuesday 16 October 2018

12 Curly Questions with author/editor Sue Whiting

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
For most of my 30s my passion was tap dancing. The hardest thing I have ever tried to master. Not that I ever did. But I did eventually learn to do the time step and twice danced on stage at the end-of-year concert – flinging my feather boa and twirling my top hat and cane!

2. What is your nickname? 
I don’t have one now. But when I was young my dad always called me Beanie. Not really sure why – but it could have something to do with liking to wear a particular fetching brightly striped beanie all year round. (He should probably have called me Tea Cosy!)

3. What is your greatest fear? 
Oh gosh. This is so hard, because I am a little superstitious and don’t like to say my fears out loud in case they hear me. I did once have a terrible fear of heights though, but I accidentally cured myself when I took a gondola trip up to the top of the Klein Matterhorn in Switzerland. I didn’t realise at the time that it was the highest cable car station in Europe!

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words. 
Suspenseful, page turning, atmospheric, emotive and, hopefully, entertaining.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer. 
Hard-working, committed, versatile, brave, serious

6. What book character would you be, and why? 
I would love to be Violet Mackerel, from the Violet Mackerel series by Anna Branford. Violet is only seven or eight – but that’s not why I would love to be her. I just love her honesty, energy, creativity and the way she views the world and solves problems. I also love her family. I aspire to be more like her and to be adopted by the Mackerels.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why? 
Paris in the early 1900–1920s. Why? Watch Midnight in Paris and you’ll know why. The creativity! The style! The way the arts were valued! The champagne!

8. What would you say to your 10-year-old self now? Don’t worry about the fact that you suck at English and can’t spell for peanuts. One day it’ll be your thing. You will grow up and become a writer and editor – and people will ring you up to ask how to spell things. Life is wonderfully strange. Expect the unexpected.

9. Who is your greatest influence? 
This is another curly one. I think Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was a huge influence on me. It taught me about racism and social inequality and much about human nature, but most importantly, it taught me about the power of the written word. I strive to write a story as powerful.

10. What/who made you start writing? 
I fell in love with children’s literature as a young primary school teacher, and it was this passion for children’s books that eventually drove me to try to write my own stories for kids.

11. What is your favourite word and why? 
I love the word dodgy. Just love the sound of it, the way it rolls off your tongue. My editors would probably say I love the words 'just', 'a little', 'anyhow' and 'but', going by the frequency with which I use them.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
A toss up between A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley. But truly, that is a very cruel question. The stuff of horror movies. 

Sue Whiting is an author and editor. She has written numerous books in a variety of genres: picture books through to YA. Her middle-grade novel, Missing, was released in March and her latest picture book Beware the Deep Dark Forest, illustrated by Annie White, was in October. For more information, see www.suewhiting.com.