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

Tuesday 18 January 2022

10 Quirky Questions with author Stef Gemmill

1. What's your hidden talent?
I can make Boobook owl hoots by pressing my thumbs together and blowing a whistle through them.

2. Who is your favourite literary villain and why?
I absolutely love a literary ‘false’ villain. Professor Snape from JK Rowlings' Harry Potter series is so misunderstood. The plot twists and emotional turns he brings to Harry’s trials and tribulations add so much depth to the books.

3. You're hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors would you invite? (alive or dead)
Neil Gaiman is top of the list. His imagination is both dark and intriguing. I’d also invite Nat Amoore, Nova Weetman, AL Tait and Renee Treml – all Australian children’s authors. We’d sit around the table showcasing our wild imaginations to Neil.

4. Which literary invention do you wish was real?
A Dream Extraction Vacuum that sucks my dreams directly from my brain and translates them into a illustrated picture book ready for publication.

5. What are five words that describe your writing process?
I write from the heart.

6. Which are the five words you would like to be remembered by as a writer?
Layers of great storytelling imagination.

7. Picture your favourite writing space. What are five objects you would find there?
A huge desk to scatter my reference books, sketch books and plotting plans so they are always to hand; post-it notes for planning scenes on the wall; pencils for note taking and creating character sketches so I can visualise my characters; a blank wall to look at so I get my words down instead of waving out the window to people; a coffee machine.

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!)
I’m currently reading Wandi by Favel Parrett, a wildlife story about an orphaned Alpine Dingo and the word is ‘Mama’.

We’re off to somewhere new and strange,
The best adventures come with change.
New trees to climb and fields to roam,
And Mama’s call to bring us home.

9. If you could ask one author one question, what would the question be and who would you ask?
I would love to ask Neil Gaiman if he ever feels his writing is not good enough to publish. Most writers I know have deep feelings of self-doubt, much like I do at times.

10. Which would you rather do: 'Never write another story or never read another book'?
I couldn’t bear to not read another book. Other people’s stories are a fantastic place to escape to. If I can’t write stories, then I’d be content living in another author’s story world for a while.

Stef Gemmill is a children’s author and former technical writer, teacher, and freelance music journalist. She won the children’s category of the International Rubery Book Awards with her picture book A Home For Luna in 2020.