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

Tuesday 26 November 2019

12 Curly Questions with authors Carl Merrison and Hakea Hustler

 1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
Hakea: I’d like to be an illustrator too one day.
Carl: One of my favourite foods is ‘milk guts’.
2. What is your nickname?
Carl: Merro
Hakea: Hakes or H — with a name like mine that is tricky to pronounce and harder to remember, it's handy to have a nickname!

3. What is your greatest fear?
Hakea: Heights... maybe coming a close second to answering telephone calls! I have overcome my fear of heights often by going on school camps as a teacher and doing giant swings, the jump of faith and high-wire courses, but it is still one of my biggest fears. Another phobia is phone calls. It gives me huge anxiety not being able to see someone’s face and body language.
Carl: Dying.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Carl: My writing style: authentic, honest, true to experience, raw, rough.
Hakea: My writing style is descriptive, intricately woven with lots of inferences.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer
Hakea: I am a passionate, inspired, unique, inquisitive and descriptive writer.
Carl: I am an authentic Australian writer that is true to my culture and life

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Carl: Indiana Jones, because he is adventurous and goes on lots of exciting trips looking for treasure and fighting bad guys. I love the outdoors, old artefacts, hunting for gold with my gold detector, visiting different places around Australia.
Hakea: This is hard! There are so many inspiring characters that I would love to be. Probably Elspeth from the Obernewtyn Chronicles — talks to animals, empath, surviving through adversity — I can relate.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
Hakea: I’d travel back in time and tell myself to stop procrastinating on all my book ideas! I’d be too scared to change the past. I’ve read to many time travel books!
Carl: There are too many times that you could go back to to influence history. I would probably go back to the day before my brother left to go to hospital just before he passed away to tell him all the things I didn’t say. I would go back to tell my mate not to get in the car. I would go back to spend more time with my dad before he passed. I’ve lost a lot of people, so lots of dates to say the things unsaid.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
Hakea: I think 10-year-old Hakea would be relieved to see that some of the really tough years don’t break us! She would probably be too busy reading or walking around on the beach to talk to some strange old lady though!
Carl: You made it.

9. Who is your greatest influence?
Carl: Dad
Hakea: My editor, Shel Sweeney, from A Worded Life, played a huge role in my evolution as a writer for which I can credit our publishing success.

10. What/who made you start writing?
Hakea: When I was pregnant with my daughter I had lots of time on my hands in the last few weeks waiting for her to arrive. The inspiration had been brewing from experiences on Jaru/Kija Country and from discussions between Carl and I.
Carl: Hakea

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Carl: Juju because my two kids made it up. It means belly button.
Hakea: I thought Carl was going to pick ‘respect’. As an English teacher and writer I love words (as you can see by the length of my answers!) so picking just one is tricky. Can I be cliche and say ‘kindness’?

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Hakea: This is torture just choosing one book! Ask me which author I would read for the rest of my life and that’s maybe a tiny bit easier. Isobelle Carmody, Ian Irvine, John Marsden, Jackie French, Aaron Blabley ... to name the first that jump to my mind.
Carl: I loved the Doctor Who series as a kid. Can I read a whole series?!

Hakea Hustler was a high school English teacher at Halls Creek District High School. Hakea, a co-author and non-Indigenous collaborator on Black Cockatoo, is committed to Indigenous education with a particular focus on school engagement, English language and story as learning, understanding and empowerment. 
Carl Merrison is a Jaru man from Halls Creek. Carl works with young Indigenous boys through the Clontarf Academy focusing in improving engagement with education and providing a positive role model. Carl was nominated for Australian of the Year in 2016.
For more information, see www.hakeahustler.com.au.