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

Tuesday 24 March 2020

12 Curly Questions with author Charlotte Barkla

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I grew up on a cattle farm west of Toowoomba, in Queensland. I’m one of four girls, and when we were younger we used to make up stories and plays together. (We were a bit Little Women-esque, but without the Laurie love interest next door. Or the war. Or Beth’s illness. Perhaps not so many parallels after all!)

2. What is your nickname?
No nickname currently, but Mum is what I’m most often called. I did have Charlie for a while in high school, and Frenchy at university (my maiden name was French).

3. What is your greatest fear?
Good question. It would have to be outliving my children. (Sorry, that took a sombre turn!)

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Light, fun, upbeat. I like to write books with humour and heart.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Hard-working, imaginative, a keen learner.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
That’s a hard one. Maybe Jo March from Little Women? (I just saw the latest movie and it’s in my head). She’s the second eldest of four girls and loves writing, like me!

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I think I’d travel forward 100 years or so. I’d like to see how the world has progressed. What technologies will we have? Will there be flying cars? (I’ve always loved Back to the Future). But I’d make sure not to pick up a Sports Almanac.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
You’re an author? Cool!

9. Who is your greatest influence?
Another great question. I’d have to say my children, because it was through them that I started writing. After spending a lot of time in the children’s section of local libraries, I was inspired to put pen to paper and try my hand at writing a picture book. The first (or second) picture book manuscript I wrote was actually the one that was published this year! My kids also inspire me because when I’m writing I often think 'what would my kids enjoy reading/find funny when they’re x years old?'.

10. What/who made you start writing?
Oops, I skipped ahead! (See Question 9) J

11. What is your favourite word and why? 
That’s a hard one. I quite like palindromes – especially phrases that can be read both forwards and backwards. For example: “Was it a car or a cat I saw?”

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Oh, that’s too hard! It would have to be a funny book. Anything by Adam Cece, Dave Lowe or Deb Abela.

Charlotte is an Adelaide-based writer who worked as a civil engineer and physics teacher before rediscovering her love for children’s literature. She now writes picture books, middle-grade fiction and feature articles. Her debut picture book, All Bodies are Good Bodies, was published by Hardie Grant Egmont in January 2020. The first novel in her middle-grade series, Edie’s Experiments, was published in February by Penguin Random House, with Book 2 to follow in July. As well as writing for children, Charlotte’s feature articles have been published by a range of publications including Good Health magazine, MiNDFOOD magazine, Engineers Australia and the Australian Education Union. For more information, see www.charlottebarkla.com.