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

Tuesday 26 May 2020

12 Curly Questions with author Brenda Gurr

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I used to work casually as an actor and my agent once sent me to audition for the part of Diana in a stage production of Anne of Green Gables. I was thrilled! I spent three days teaching myself to speak with a Canadian accent. I got through a few rounds of auditions, to the point where I was asked to confirm that I would be happy to dye my hair black. But after all that, I was pipped at the post!

2. What is your nickname?
Close family call me Brenz.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Being eaten by a crocodile.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
I aim to be thoughtful, relevant, exciting, fun, childish, adventurous, witty, courageous, heartfelt and wondrous.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Imaginative, finicky, persistent, contemplative and passionate.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
I think the answer to this changes from minute to minute! In this moment, I would choose Christine from The Phantom of the Opera. I would love to skulk about beneath the Palais Garnier, have a fabulous singing talent and simply experience all the drama and passion of the story.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I would head to 1515 to see the second marriage of my direct ancestor, Princess Mary Tudor, the sister of King Henry VIII. She married Charles Brandon, a man she loved, without the king’s consent. He was furious and Brandon was lucky to escape execution. I would love to meet Mary – she must have been a strong and interesting woman!

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
You’re an author? How cool! Took you long enough, though!

9. Who is your greatest influence?
I’m not sure I have one greatest influence as a writer. I do remember reading a biography of the Bronte sisters and being stunned at how they could write so beautifully despite such difficult and restricted circumstances. I think about this whenever I struggle to get words on a page and it inspires me to keep going.

10. What/who made you start writing?
As a shy child and one who couldn’t easily speak off the cuff (I still can’t!), I needed to write to marshal my thoughts and express all the imaginings whirling around in my head.

11. What is your favourite word and why?

Magic. It has such a mysterious sound. And we should always look out for and expect moments of magic in our lives.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?  
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Soulful, dark and elegantly written. I feel like I never stop learning something new about writing no matter how many times I read it.

Brenda grew up in Western Australia and spent her early childhood on a dairy farm. After finishing school, she headed off to university and wound up with an English degree, majoring in the obscure field of Language and Culture and minoring in Theatre Arts. She went on to study education and became a speech and drama teacher and part-time storytelling fairy. She has worked as a professional actor and has been seen on TV in the roles of a nurse, a marine biologist, a mother being attacked by a dingo and a train passenger watching a man chasing a chicken. Don’t ask. She has also worked as an in-house writer and editor for an educational publisher. She now works as a freelance writer and editor from her home in beautiful country Victoria, where she lives with her family and two attention-seeking Burmese cats named Bingley and Bess. For more information, see www.brendagurr.com.