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

Tuesday 5 October 2021

12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Jo Dabrowski

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
My dream job is to be a Play School presenter.

2. What is your nickname?
Some of my girlfriends call me Joey, but my husband calls me Weasel.

3. What is your greatest fear?
That the world will stop making denim overalls in my size.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
I like to write stories that will make children laugh.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
I will try again tomorrow.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
I’m definitely Elephant in Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books. I’m anxious, melodramatic and also have a tendency to over-analyse everything and catastrophise. But, like Elephant, I’m also a very loyal friend and I will share my ice-cream with you. Sometimes.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I’d go back to the late 1950s, put on a dress with a big, colourful skirt and layers of tulle underneath, and use an entire can of hairspray to do my hair. But, once I’d gotten my Doris Day impersonation out of my system, I’d come straight back. It wasn’t exactly a great time for women, so I’d much rather be living today.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
I’d like to think 10-year-old me would be pretty happy with where I ended up and would say something like, ‘Wow, you’ve done ok. I should stop worrying so much.’ But, in reality, 10-year-old me was very self-critical, so she’s far more likely to look at me and say, ‘You’re not as tall as I expected.’

9. Who is your greatest influence?
There are so many authors, illustrators and film makers whose work I admire, usually for their humour or graphic simplicity or both. But the person who has been the greatest direct influence on me would have to be my mum. She’s a talented dressmaker, the hardest worker I know, and she has an incredible make-do attitude. She’s definitely the reason I love working with my hands today.

10. What/who made you start writing?
I used to love writing when I was in primary school, especially rhyming poetry, but by the time I got to secondary school I became completely focused on studying hard and getting a ‘proper job’. I ended up working as a copywriter, in advertising, where funnily enough writing was my least favourite part of the job, but I loved coming up with visual ideas. I’ve only recently started writing for children and, although there wasn’t a specific event or person that led me to start, I know I wouldn’t have had the self-confidence to persist if it wasn’t for the constant encouragement and support of my husband.

11. What is your favourite word and why?

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I will never get tired of Anne Shirley and her terrible temper. And I will never stop loving Gilbert Blythe.

Jo Dabrowksi’s writing career started in advertising in Melbourne and continued across agencies here and in London. Jo and her husband now run a small creative agency from home in Melbourne, where they live with their two boys. You can read our review of her picture book, Have You Seen My Friend here. For more information, see www.jodabrowski.com.