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

Tuesday 8 October 2019

12 Curly Questions with author Jenny Blackford

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I grew up wanting to learn as many ancient languages as I could. I was a boilermaker’s daughter, so this was not merely weird, but difficult. I managed to study Latin through state high school, but I couldn’t start Greek until University. Sanskrit was amazing.

2. What is your nickname?
My parents often called me Jenny-Penny or Pennifer. My husband often calls me Jennybee. Lots of people call me Jen. But are any of these a real nickname? Not really. Sorry!

3. What is your greatest fear?
Inanimate objects coming to life, like the plastic Autons in vintage Doctor Who. Or the walls closing in. Or, most relevant to my new book, The Girl in the Mirror, seeing a strange face (not my own strange face) in the mirror. I worry a lot about real-world horrors, but is that fear?

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Wry. Witty, I like to think. Often a touch poetic. That’s 10!

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Quirky, kind, funny, surprisingly surprising.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Mary Poppins. She knows everything and everyone. She is comfortable under the sea or in the sky, and can talk authoritatively to birds, animals and babies. She was around during Noah’s Flood, and can stick gold stars from gingerbread onto the night sky. But she has no interest in becoming ruler of England, the Earth or the Universe. She just goes about making life better for one family, and some of their friends and associates (notably including Willoughby the dog). And she is always perfectly satisfied with her appearance and her handiwork.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
If I could arrive with perfect Mycenaean Greek, the right clothes, plenty of money and a good cover story, I’d go to Sparta for the day Helen met the Trojan prince Paris, or Knossos the day Ariadne met the Athenian hero Theseus.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
First, how did you get so old? Then, stay brave.

9. Who is your greatest influence?
JRR Tolkien. I found The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings so immersive and compelling.

10. What/who made you start writing?
I wrote as far back as I can remember, and I always wanted to be a published author. The question is more: What stopped me writing for so long? And the answer is, I had to work for a living!

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Aquamarine. Turquoise. Lapis lazuli. Smaragdine. All the green-blue jewel words.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?  
The Lord of the Rings. It contains whole worlds, and endless ages, and wonderful small-scale domestic life.

Jenny Blackford writes stories and poems for people of all ages, often with a tinge of magic. She is delighted that Eagle Books, an imprint of Christmas Press, is publishing her fantasy adventure novel, The Girl in the Mirror, in October 2019. For more information, see www.jennyblackford.com.