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

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

12 Curly Questions with YA reviewer Jo Antareau

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
As a kid I once got my head stuck inside the freezer when trying to scrape the frost build-up with my teeth. It's shiny white ice looked like a treat! But it turned to fear pretty quickly once I felt the ice harden around my upper lip. I couldn’t pull off without leaving a piece of skin behind! Scary! Mum had the presence of mind to pour hot water on it to release me! To add to the overall embarrassment, my bestie happened to turn up at the time and had a chuckle. But I don’t think she blabbed about it so it’s safe to say hardly anyone knows about it. Until now!

2. What is your nickname?
My family call me Jeanne which is the closest French name to Jo. My kids call me Mum. And to everybody else I’m what’s-her-name.

3. What is your greatest fear?
A zombie crossed with a snowman – it’ll give you frostbite

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Lots of procrastination interspersed with short bursts of writing fury.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Eccentric, authentic, well researched, furious.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Hermione Granger – smart, feisty and magical. How far would Harry have gotten without her? And she attracted the romantic interest of a world-class sporting champion. Why would any girl not want to be her?

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
Absolute zero – to see the Big Bang in action. What a fireworks display that must have been!

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
Don’t you dare tell anybody about getting stuck in the freezer!

9. Who is your greatest influence?
Whenever I read a wonderful book that draws me in and keeps me turning the pages, I have to stop myself from unintentionally mimicking the author’s style the next time I write. So, I’m trying to ignore influences and just find my own voice.

10. What/who made you start writing?
My mum – she always loved a good story and could create a great tale out of nothing (possibly from necessity).

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Growth. It feels good saying it. I cherish childhood because it’s a time of constant growth and rapid changes. It’s a magical process, which is why I want to be a kids’ writer and to be a part of the journey (and also why I’m a child psych in my day job). But I still believe adults are capable of growth – and I don’t just mean in girth – if they believe it themselves. So growth is the fairy dust of life which takes us closer to our aspirations.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The telephone directory. Sure, there’s not much plot, but the cast of characters is just massive!

Jo is a psychologist by day and an emerging children’s author by night. But she’s the mother of three boys only on the days ending with a y. She enjoys all sorts of children’s literature and has had short stories published on various sites. In her spare time she enjoys sleeping. Jo is the new YA reviewer at Kids' Book Review. You can read her first review here.

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