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- author Jackie French

Tuesday 23 June 2020

12 Curly Questions with author Hilary Robinson

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
My 8x grandfather was Henry Foljambe. According to some medieval records, the Foljambes descended from King Eric of Sweden. I don’t know if it’s true but it’s fun to think that I may be part of Viking royalty!

2. What is your nickname? 
 My nickname is Billy because my uncle, instead of calling me Hilary, called me ‘Hilly Billy’. Other family members then started then to call me Billy too – including my husband!

3. What is your greatest fear?
I have a fear of being trapped in a small space. I don’t know what has caused that but it’s a reason why I would never go potholing! And if there were mice or rats in that small space I would be even more upset!

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Intermittent. I don’t have a disciplined approach.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Quick, organised, reactive, neat, efficient.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
I would love to be Anne of Green Gables. Her vivid imagination, her love for life, how she responded to adversity and the way she cared for others was inspirational.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
If I could travel back in time I would like to meet Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in 1721 who developed the technique for the inoculation of smallpox. She learned it from small communities in the Ottoman Empire, where her husband was the British Ambassador. She was never given the credit for the technique, which involved taking pus from a blister and scratching it into the skin of another. That would then cause antibodies in the other person and protect them from the disease. If it hadn’t been for her then Edward Jenner might never have found the cure for cowpox.
I would also like to see the Bronte sisters, in 1845, sitting around their table, writing their stories.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
I would say practise your piano more! I got to a high standard but I didn’t practise nearly as much as I should have done and I’m trying to pick it up again now. It’s much harder to learn when you’re an adult!

9. Who is your greatest influence?
My dad was my greatest influence. He was clever, wise, funny, kind and much admired by many. A natural diplomat, he helped many who were in difficulty and everyone trusted him.

10. What/who made you start writing?
I was already writing for television when my three-year-old daughter developed a fear of spiders. I couldn’t find a book about a friendly spider and so I wrote one. That story led on to another and another and 25 years later I am still writing. Sophie is now a teacher in London and still a little bit frightened of spiders!

11. What is your favourite word and why?
My favourite word is supercalifragilistic because it’s a happy word and everyone smiles when it’s said.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If I could read one book for the rest of my life it would be the delightful Winnie the Pooh. I love the uplifting and inspiring quotes as Pooh Bear walks about with his little words of wisdom.

Hilary Robinson is the author of over 60 children’s books including Mixed Up Fairy Tales, Where The Poppies Now Grow and The Gregory Goose series. She has won awards for several of her books, which have also been translated into several languages. For more information, see www.hilaryrobinson.co.uk.