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

Tuesday 16 July 2019

12 Curly Questions with author Weng Wai Chan

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I took my first puff on a cigarette when I was five years old. Our old gardener lived behind our house in Singapore and I asked to try his cigarette one day and he let me. I only told my mother recently, and she looked as if she wanted to discipline me, then realised that it had happened decades ago... guess I got away with that one! I never bothered with cigarettes after that.

2. What is your nickname?

3. What is your greatest fear?

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Striving for engaging characters, heart, humour, action, jeopardy and depth.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Daydream, problem solve, research, fun

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Maddy from Maddy West and the Tongue Taker, by Brian Falkner, because she can speak any language in the world. I would love to be able to communicate fluently in any language, as each one would give you another perception of the world, which would be completely amazing.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I would go back to 1940 and see what Raffles Hotel and Chinatown looked like back then, and maybe take a surreptitious selfie with Lizard, the main character in my novel.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
You mean reading so much is actually a good thing? Groovy!

9. Who is your greatest influence?
My mother, for fostering a love of reading by giving us kids comics when we were little: Beano, Dandy, Whizzer and Chips, Casper and Wendy, Richie Rich, Mickey Mouse etc. She said she didn’t mind what we read as long as we were reading. I had to remind myself of that when one of my kids wouldn’t read anything except Archie comics.

10. What/who made you start writing?
I used to draw a lot when I was young, but eventually found making story worlds with words more interesting and chose to focus on writing. When my kids were little, I couldn’t find many books that reflected their heritage so I thought I would try to write one.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Weltering, because it’s old fashioned and funny. It means to wallow in something.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I was told not to say the Bible, even though it’s 66 books in one, so I’ll say My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. His warm, funny, inclusive view of the world and his care for the environment continues to be inspirational.


Weng Wai Chan was born and grew up in Singapore. She now lives in Auckland with her husband and three children. Lizard’s Tale is her first book. For more information, see www.textpublishing.com.au.