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

Tuesday 9 February 2021

10 Quirky Questions with author/illustrator Lucinda Gifford

1. What's your hidden talent?
Ha! If I had a talent outside my work, it wouldn’t stay hidden for long. I’d find a way of making sure people knew about it, probably fairly unsubtly. One useful ability: I can whip together a tasty, freshly-baked cake within the hour, if not sooner.

2. Who is your favourite literary villain and why?
I’m intrigued by Mrs Coulter in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. She’s malicious, power-hungry, deceitful, corrupt and cruel – but she’s also brilliant, brave and (later) conflicted.

3. You're hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors would you invite? (alive or dead)
Louis Sachar, Joan Aiken, David Mitchell, Elizabeth Strout and Michael Ondaatje – because I love all of their writing so much and they’re a diverse group style-wise. Ideally, they’d pause their deep literary conversations occasionally to chat with me…

4. Which literary invention do you wish was real?
I wish there was an actual circus like Dr Seuss’s Circus McGurkus (from If I Ran the Circus). It is the most marvellous, fantastical circus in the world and it’s stayed with me for 40 years.

5. What are five words that describe your writing process?
Organised, chaotic, structured, intuitive, inconsistent.

6. Which are the five words you would like to be remembered by as a writer?
Entertaining, funny, warm, surprising, un-putdownable.

7. Picture your favourite writing space. What are five objects you would find there?
A pot of coffee, shelves stuffed with the BEST children’s books, a snoozing dog, a huge tub of pencils, more than a reasonable amount of puppets.

8. Grab the nearest book, open it to page 22 and look for the second word in the first sentence. Now, write a line that starts with that word. (Please include the name of the book!)
Few people expected her to have a hidden talent, but the author’s 20-minute brownies were serious ‘Bake-off’ contenders. (David Mitchell - The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet)

9. If you could ask one author one question, what would the question be and who would you ask?
I love to think about process and plotting of books I’ve read recently, so I’d ask Emily Rodda: “With the Golden Door Trilogy, did you come up with the incredible, mind-bending concept first, and then just HAVE to write a novel about it?” If you’ve read the book you’ll know what I mean - the plot is wonderfully twisty.

10. Which would you rather do: 'Never write another story or never read another book'?
I would carry on writing and listen to audio books in bed — is that cheating? 

Lucinda works as an illustrator and author from her cosy, messy home studio in Melbourne. After taking a degree in architecture and veering into an advertising career, Lucinda finally took the plunge and started work on her true passion: children's books. In 2014 she was awarded the Five Mile Press Illustrator Prize and, since then, has illustrated over 20 books. She uses pencil, ink, crayon, marker, and watercolour to produce her illustrations, and usually uses PhotoShop to put everything together. Architecture still fascinates her, and she loves to draw all sorts of buildings, especially castles filled with dragons. When not sketching or developing story ideas, Lucinda enjoys plot twists, beach walks and staring out the windows of Melbourne trams. For more information, see www.lucindagiffordbooks.com.