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

Tuesday 25 June 2019

12 Curly Questions with author Katherine Battersby

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I was an artistic roller skater for most of my youth. I loved freestyle skating the most, which involves spins and jumps and routines to music. I don’t get to skate very often anymore, but I do get to ice skate on the frozen canal in Ottawa (Canada) where I live now.

2. What is your nickname?
I love nicknames, so I have many. My partner and I are always coming up with new ones for each other (and now for our daughter, too). My current favourites: girl-a-roo, katbat and mumma-bat.
3. What is your greatest fear?
Drowning. I grew up in a house on a cliff overlooking the ocean (in Mackay, Qld) and I could always hear the waves rolling in. As a wee thing I was terrified a tidal wave would sweep us off the cliff, and the sound of the ocean entered my sleep and gave me strange nightmares. It’s a fear that I’ve carried with me into adulthood (despite loving to swim and boat!).

4. Describe your writing style.
Sweet, quirky, genuine and full of heart.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Dedicated. Nerdy. Joyful. Considered. Sleepless.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Today I’ll say... Hermione. Who didn’t dream of getting their Hogwarts letter in the mail? There’s still hope, right? Plus she’s a favourite feminist icon from my younger years.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I’d go to the seventies so I could meet my partner as a boy. I love to imagine what he was like growing up. I think we would have been great friends.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
“Why don’t you read as many books as you used to?” And I would show her the huge reading pile by my bedside. I wish I had more time for reading...

9. Who is your greatest influence?
Absolutely my mum. She taught me about compassion and love and empathy. She was also incredibly creative — she hand-crafted papers, dabbled in watercolours and was a seamstress with a huge collection of fabrics. Considering, as an illustrator, I now use a collage of papers, fabrics and watercolour in my books, she has definitely been the biggest influence on my work.

10. What/who made you start writing?
I started writing in an attempt to process the world, to figure out how I felt and what I was thinking. I was an incredibly sensitive kid so often felt like I had big things bubbling up inside me. I had a lot of trouble expressing myself, so writing was my attempt to do so.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Persnickety. It’s so much fun to say (and is rather fitting for my personality).

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Just one? Really? What kind of fresh torture is this? Maybe The Girl Who Drank the Moon, my favourite book of the last few years. The writing and characterisation is so perfect and the world is so richly layered. I’ve become particularly choosy about my fantasy in the last few years and this book is just perfection – I haven’t come across anything quite like it. I’d happily digest it over many more reads.

Katherine Battersby is the critically acclaimed children’s author and illustrator of nine picture books, including Squish Rabbit, Brave Squish Rabbit and Little Wing, which have been published around the world. Her books have been shortlisted for the Crichton Award and named Notable Books in the Early Childhood category of the CBCA Book of the Year Awards. In another life, Katherine worked for many years as a paediatric occupational therapist, specialising as a children’s counsellor, and she has also studied graphic design. She grew up by the beach in North Queensland and currently lives in Canada with her poet husband and their rather ridiculous dog. See www.katherinebattersby.com. Her latest picture book, Squish Rabbit's Pet is reviewed here.