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

Tuesday 5 January 2021

12 Curly Questions with author Helen Castles

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I always wanted to be an actress. I'm convinced if I had followed that path I'd have an Academy Award by now!

2. What is your nickname?

When I was a child my family called me 'Bub' because I'm the youngest of seven children but thankfully that petered out when I entered adulthood.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Inadvertently stepping on a snake. Actually, having a snake within a one kilometre radius is enough to terrify me.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
My editor calls it quirky yet sophisticated and I agree.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Dedicated, humourous, colourful, driven and responsible.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Matilda from Roald Dahl's Matilda. She was a resourceful and intelligent girl who found her own way to a happy ending.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I'd go back to 1989 when I was a 17-year-old living in the USA. It was kind of like my last hurrah as a carefree teen. A year later I was at university and had to be all 'adulty'.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?

I can't believe you have a mortgage. We were supposed to be rich by now!

9. Who is your greatest influence?
My father passed away when I was nine, and everything I do as a writer, I hope would make him proud. He loved books and would be thrilled to know his daughter is a writer.

10. What/who made you start writing?
I had some wonderful teachers as a child who always encouraged my love of writing, but I was influenced to make storytelling my living by the works of screenwriter John Hughes. I wrote screenplays for many years before switching over to children's fiction.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Actually. I love the way it sounds, I love the way it looks and I love how it can be used. I'm a self-confessed 'word nerd'. One of my favourite pastimes as a child was reading the dictionary and learning new words.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My favourite childhood book, The Wind in the Willows. There's something really comforting about that book.

Helen Castles lives in southern New South Wales and is a newspaper journalist and children's author. Her loves include coffee, chocolate, cuddling puppies and holidaying near the ocean. When she's not chasing up a real-life news story, she's writing about the adventures of feisty detective editor, Scoop McLaren. For more information, see www.newfrontier.com.au.