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

Tuesday 21 January 2020

12 Curly Questions with author Petra James

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I broke my right arm twice when I was a kid. Once, playing netball and, twice, nearly winning a sack race. I’d never nearly won a sack race before so excitement made me extra wobbly.

2. What is your nickname?

3. What is your greatest fear?
Letting fear slow me down. But then I remember Elizabeth Gilbert says fear is the most boring thing about us because it says only one thing: STOP!

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
I hope it is funny, fresh and engaging, with heart.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Thoughtful, wordy, quirky, musical, dramatic.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
The Cat from The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss. As well as admiring the chaos Cat causes on that rainy day, I was also impressed by his ability to juggle a cup and a cake on top of his hat, a fish in a bowl on the tip of an umbrella, two books, some milk in a dish … And I’d love to have friends called Thing One and Thing Two.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
1922, when Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, the boy pharaoh, in the Valley of the Kings.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
You haven’t changed much.

9. Who is your greatest influence?
Kath, my sister. For her incredible passion and joy.

10. What/who made you start writing?
Watching Maddy, my niece, when she was four, exploring the backyard in the dark with a torch. Twenty Tangled Elephants – my first (and last) story in rhyme emerged.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Nephology – the study of clouds. I love watching clouds, and I stumbled across this word in the dictionary serendipitously (another favourite word).

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Bleak House by Charles Dickens. It’s page-turning, full of fog and intrigue, and loud with character and plot.

Petra James is the author of several middle-grade novels, such as the Arkie Sparkle series and Hapless Hero Henrie. Originally from a small town in New Zealand, she spent three years in the United Kingdom before moving to Australia, where she has worked in publishing ever since. Unlike the Ungrateful Girls in her latest book, The Most Ungrateful Girl in the World, she is very polite and well mannered. See www.penguin.com.au for more information.