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- author Jackie French

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

12 Curly Questions with author/publisher Susannah McFarlane


1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I can’t watch scary movies — even movies other people think are lame! I guess that’s why I love fairytales that end ‘happily ever after’!

2. What is your nickname?
I’ve never really had one, more just shortenings (Susie, Sooze) although for a brief time I was ‘Plasticine Face’ but for reasons I can’t remember, which may be for the best…

3. What is your greatest fear?
Losing those I love

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Oh gosh (do those two count?) — grounded in truth and reality but not taking themselves too seriously (with apologies for the extra word…)

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Honest, seeking, amused, interested, hopeful

6. What book character would you be, and why?
One of the kids in The Enchanted Wood so I could visit all those lands that so entranced me as a child. I sometimes try to think of a more literary answer but, really, that would be my best.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
Around 30AD to hear Jesus teach the Sermon on the Mount, the ultimate lesson in how to love.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
You really don’t need to worry so much – and don’t wear that brown cap and blazer!

9. Who is your greatest influence?
My two mothers (now there’s a story, which you can read in Heartlines: The Year I Met My Other Mother).

10. What/who made you start writing?
I have always written – at first as a little girl writing notes to Mum to try to get myself out of trouble and then to my daughter to try to get her out of trouble. I wrote EJ12 Girl Hero to try to inspire her and other young girls to reach high and do their best to make the world a better place. So, I suppose, I have always written to persuade.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Discombobulated (to be confused and disconcerted) – it’s almost onomatopoeic and I am always striving to be combobulated

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The Bible. Whatever your faith position, it is the most wonderfully crafted collection of books of wisdom, poetry and truth chronicling the human condition, with a story arc as long as history but also played out over hundreds of individual stories within. It bears infinite re-reading and reflection


Susannah McFarlane is the author, creator and publisher of some of Australia's most successful children's book series. She is best known as the author of the bestselling EJ12 Girl Hero and EJ Spy School series, which have sold over one million copies. Susannah also created and co-wrote (with Louise Park, as Mac Park) the hugely popular D-Bot Squad and Boy vs Beast series; wrote the Little Mates series of alphabet books for under-fives; was series editor for Stuff Happens!, about the everyday challenges boys face; and wrote Fairytales for Feisty Girls. In a heartwarming companion title to her bestselling book, Bold Tales for Brave-hearted Boys was released in October 2019.

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