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

Tuesday 30 August 2022

12 Curly Questions with author Paula Stevenson

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
When I was in primary school, maybe year 1, we had exercise books ruled up with lines to keep our printed letters in order. I quickly mastered these exercises, so I thought it was time to move on. I skipped a few pages and began to fill up the fresh pages with my newly acquired skill of cursive writing. It was all fine until the teacher asked us to hand in our books to her! I felt very sick and shuffled off to the sick bay. Think my teacher must have had a quiet giggle at my transgression. But it was the origin of my brilliant writing career.

2. What is your nickname?
Don’t really have a nickname though an uncle used to call me ‘Pauby’. My grandchildren in one family call me Nana P to differentiate me from the other Nana.

3. What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is to drop off the perch before I have more of my books published!

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
My style is lyrical, connected to nature and influenced by my environment.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Determined, dogged, persistent, resolute, optimistic.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
I would be Sybylla in My Brilliant Career. She is feisty, a girl from the bush and determined to write and get published.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I would return to the year when I started at Sydney University and have greater wisdom about the opportunities that were offered. I was too young at 16 and naïve.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
My 10-year-old self would say to hurry up and start writing sooner. Don’t leave it till you think you have heaps of spare time.

9. Who is your greatest influence?

My deepest, maybe subconscious, influence was my father who was a frustrated creative but sent off stories to various magazines when we were young.

10. What/who made you start writing?
After being a high school English teacher for many years, I started writing seriously when I enrolled in a Continuing Education Course at Sydney University with Kate Llewellyn. She encouraged us to post off our writing and send it to journals, competitions or newspapers. So I did and wrote for adults until I diverged to kid-lit when my grandchildren began to appear.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
My favourite word is ‘serendipitous’ because I love it when things happen that connect with an idea you have or a piece of writing you have started. Suddenly there are stories on the radio or TV or Instagram about powerful owls or echidnas!

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I think it would be To Kill a Mockingbird, though lately I am entranced by Cloud Cuckoo Land and have re-read it many times. 

Paula loves to write stories that entertain, surprise and inspire children. Her picture book Buster Follows His Nose was recently published. Three of her poems have been published in The School Magazine and a number of children’s stories published in three different anthologies. One of her stories is included in the CBCA anthology, which was launched in May 2021. She has been shortlisted in a number of awards, including the Scribbles Creative Writing Awards in 2018 and 2019. Paula belongs to the ASA, CBCA and SCWBI and a number of groups including The Duck Pond, Just Write for Kids and Creative Kids Tales. She is a farmer in the Upper Hunter Valley of NSW, as well as a writer, and she is passionate about her environment, drawing inspiration from it for many of her stories. Although she lives in a regional area, she regularly attends conferences and workshops and runs children’s sessions in the local Scone Library during the Scone Literary Festival and during Book Week. She is a Role Model for Books in Homes and visits regional primary schools in that role. She posts regularly on her website www.paulastevensonwriter.com.au, blogging about books, writing, newborn calves, old kelpies, crazy chooks and cute echidnas.