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

Tuesday 28 March 2023

12 Curly Questions with author Chanelle Gosper

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I can whistle using four different techniques – can you?

2. What is your nickname?
Good friends call me Chan, but my very closest people have special names for me that are like passwords between us. I can’t share them! Strangers misread my name as Chantelle so much that I almost accept it as another nickname (almost).

3. What is your greatest fear?
Something terrible happening to someone I love. Also, giant moths like rain moths and gum moths. I know it’s irrational, but I can’t deal with their furry bulk flapping erratically near me!

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Evocative arrangements of my mind’s vivid visuals in lyrical lines.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Honest, emotive, independent, inventive, enthusiastic.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
As a kid I loved Monica Dicken’s ‘The Messenger’ series and I think the character Rose from these books would be a great choice. She feels ordinary and clumsy but she’s chosen to stop darkness and evil by travelling through time and experiencing the world through other people’s eyes. She also gets to fly on the back of a magical heroic stallion from hundreds of years in the past. What’s not to love about that?

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
This one is very hard to answer – I love history! In fact, I really wanted to be an archaeologist when I was younger. If I absolutely have to choose, I’d pick the year 48 BCE. I’d love to see Rome right before the fall of the Republic, when Julius Caesar and the Roman army seemed unstoppable, when the crumbled ruins I’ve travelled to were new or yet to be built. I’d love to see what Cleopatra was like as a fearless young woman praised for her intellect and ingenuity, before her image was tarnished by her enemies. I’d love to see how people lived in those times all through Europe, the Mediterranean and Egypt – and I believe the pyramids of Giza still had most of their limestone casing at that time, which would have been a sight to see!

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
Did you really write a book? Choice, I always wanted to do that! But what are you doing living in Australia?!

9. Who is your greatest influence?
My grandmother, for showing me how beloved stories can be made up on the spot. My dad, for instilling in me a lifelong love of books and reading. My mum, for inspiring me to follow creative passions and move forward with independence. My Year 12 English teacher, for showing me all the layers that can lie beneath the simplest of words. Those discoveries were like finding buried treasure. And every great author I’ve ever read; there’s a little piece of every one of them in my work.

10. What/who made you start writing?
For as long as I can remember, writing has been a tool I use to unravel the jumble of thoughts and feelings inside me, drawing them out one line at a time and then knitting them together in a way that makes sense. As for writing stories, as a child there were whole worlds squeezing out of me that I found much too big to keep in my mind. I had to find a place to contain them, but that I could still get back into any time I wanted! That’s where it began, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Shenanigans, because it’s super fun to say and it also conjures up amusing adventures (or misadventures). I’m always up for those!

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Well, that hurt to imagine! But OK, for this question I’ll go with Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I’ve already read this one three times and each time I discover new things throughout, not just in the plot but through Mitchell’s incredible use of language. It has six separate stories written in different styles that nest within each other, so you have the fun of reading through what feels like completely different novellas, while looking for the hidden connections that make it one larger, rather mind-blowing epic. It covers as many human experiences as I can imagine, and then some. It shines a light of hope through the dark parts of human nature. And without fail, it always leaves me feeling like I’ve been on a stunning journey that’s left me changed in some way. Can’t imagine ever tiring of that!

Chanelle Gosper is a writer based in South Australia, where she lives with her husband, daughters and a whole lot of story ideas. A lifelong love of learning and adventure has seen her live in three different countries, travel the world and enjoy a colourful career that includes primary school teaching, recruitment, healthcare support and marketing.