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

Tuesday 8 January 2019

12 Curly Questions with author Jaclyn Moriarty

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I have a terrible sense of direction. In my early days of driving, I was always pulling my car over to the side of the road and crying/swearing into the street directory. My greatest and truest love is the GPS on my phone. Also, sometimes I sneeze 10 or 11 times in a row but I guess my neighbours already know that about me.

2. What is your nickname?
Jaclyn, Queen of the Jaclyns. (That’s the nickname I keep trying to give to myself. One day it will stick.) I’m usually known as Jaci, and I feel like I’m being fancy when I call myself ‘Jaclyn’, even though it’s my actual name. A few people call me Jack (which I really like). My dad used to call me Rumbies, because apparently I made a ‘rumbling’ noise a lot as a baby. That’s sort of cute, I guess, but my older sister’s nickname was Princess and my next sister down was Treasure.

3. What is your greatest fear?
I’ve been watching the Sharknado movies with my 12-year-old the last few nights so my instinct is to say ‘flying sharks’. But I don’t know, you could just step out of the way. I’m absolutely terrified of narrow, underground tunnels. Don’t ever make me crawl through a tunnel.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
No. Oh, I guess I’m a bit contrary and defiant.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Oh no! I need someone else to say five positive words about me as a writer. I am a modest and humble Jaclyn, Queen of the Jaclyns.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
I’d like to be one of the ‘ordinary girl’ characters in a Diane Wynne Jones Chrestomanci novel who turn out to have incredibly powerful magic.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I’ve read a lot of biographies of the Bronte sisters, and of Jane Austen, and I would love to visit any of them.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
How did you get so old?! Also: Why can't you do cartwheels anymore? Try. Just try one.

9. Who is your greatest influence?
My greatest influences are probably my parents. Dad is a great and theatrical storyteller who believes you should never spoil a good story with the facts. He’s also a really good example of someone who followed an unlikely childhood dream (to spend his days flying aeroplanes) and made it work (he became an aerial photographer/cartographer). Mum brings a wicked sense of humour and a dreamy sense of magic to her tales of the everyday. She also provided us with all the books of her childhood (Anne of Green Gables, Pollyanna, Heidi, all the books of Edith Nesbit), and took us to the local library each week (where I found Mary Poppins and James & The Giant Peach).

10. What/who made you start writing?
I was very shy and very dreamy as a child so writing was how I expressed myself and how I ran away and had adventures. My older sister, Liane, also loved to write stories and when our dad realised how passionate we were about writing, he started commissioning us to write ‘novels’.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Bewilderment. I’m often confused, and the word ‘bewilderment’ seems to make that state wild and romantic.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
This question really bothers me because I read a new book at least once a week. Maybe it should be a book of famous chess games and I could use the opportunity to study and memorise every move and become a chess master. But I’m pretty sure I’ve stolen that idea from somewhere. (I have – it’s a novella by Stefan Zweig; I just looked it up.)
Well, then, I will use the opportunity to learn several foreign languages and to memorise all the best poems. The book will the Complete Anthology of The Best Poetry Ever Written, including translations in English, French, German, Russian, Chinese and however many other languages we can fit.

Jaclyn Moriarty is well-known as the prize-winning, bestselling author of novels for young adults (and sometimes for slightly older adults). A former media and entertainment lawyer, Jaclyn's books include the Ashbury-Brookfield series and the Colours of Madeleine trilogy. The first two books in that trilogy were both awarded the NSW Premier's Literary Award and the Queensland Literary Award. Jaclyn grew up in Sydney, lived in the US, the UK and Canada, and now lives in Sydney again. The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone was shortlisted for the Readings Children's Prize, the Aurealis Award and longlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year awards and was the first she has written for younger readers. For more information, see www.jaclynmoriarty.com.