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

Tuesday 10 November 2020

12 Curly Questions with author Hana Tooke

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I can’t say the word ‘effortlessly’.

2. What is your nickname?
‘Hanky’ – people have trouble pronouncing my full name (Hanneke) and ‘Hanky’ was one person’s attempt at pronouncing it, which amused me. I made the mistake of telling my friends, however, and now the nickname has stuck.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Having to say the word ‘effortlessly’ in front of an audience.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Spookily atmospheric, with humour, warmth and a hint of magic.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Visual, playful, theatrical, & effortlessly quirky.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Lyra Belacqua from His Dark Materials. I love her sharp wit, bravery and tenacity. And I’d like to ride on the back of an armoured polar bear.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
1851 – I’d go and see all the madcap inventions at The Great Exhibition in London.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
You’re a lot shorter than I imagined. (I have three very tall siblings and assumed I’d catch up with them! Alas, it was not to be.)

9. Who is your greatest influence?
Probably Neil Gaiman. His stories are spooky, funny, clever, atmospheric and timeless. Everything I could ever aspire to.

10. What/who made you start writing?
I used to write songs. Then, when I had a child, I started making up songs and poems to amuse him, and this naturally progressed into longer bedtimes stories until eventually I realised that long after he’d drifted off to sleep, I was still sitting there, thinking up stories. So, I decided to start writing them down.

11. What is your favourite word and why? 
Pamplemousses – which is just the French word for grapefruit, but it’s so satisfying to say. Perhaps it’s my musical background, but my favourite words are the ones melodic.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
Probably Northern Lights, by Philip Pullman. I think I’ll be forever blown away by that story, and it’s so rich and layered that I’d probably discover something new in each read through.

Half Dutch, half English, Hana Tooke grew up near Amsterdam and moved to the south of England at the age of 12. After completing a degree in music, and then a PGCE, Hana was a primary school teacher for several years. Hana also completed the Bath Spa University Writing for Young People MA, and The Unadoptables was shortlisted for The Bath Children's Novel Award 2018. She lives in the UK with two humans and a cat. For more information, see www.hanatooke.com.