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

Tuesday 30 May 2023

12 Curly Questions with author Samantha Smith

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I took part in a course run by the Melbourne Zoo to conquer my fear of spiders! It included hypnosis and a 'meet the spiders' session that featured a nerve-wracking 'graded exposure sequence' (cue suspenseful music). By the end of the course, I was able to let a daddy-long-legs scurry up my arm and have a moment with a giant dead tarantula in the palm of my hands (not something I’ve repeated since).
It wasn’t exactly a relaxing weekend but it worked! I now don’t mind spiders – can’t say I adore them yet but we’re working on that.

2. What is your nickname?
My brother calls me Spam – fortunately no one else does. My dad calls me Frog – which is thankfully more aligned to my eco-writing than ‘Spam’ is.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Probably spiders – but that is improving (see above).

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Playful, funny, lively, fresh, real, entertaining, colourful, fun, eco informative.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Curious, creative, inquisitive, eco-friendly, authentic.

5. What book character would you be, and why?
I’d pick Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. She embodies a bunch of great qualities – creativity, curiosity, sharp wit, a strong sense of justice and unwavering loyalty. Plus, who wouldn’t want to hang out at Hogwarts.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I’d set the dial back to 1969 when humans first touched down on the moon. Imagine the sheer excitement of being a wide-eyed kid in that era and having a front-row seat to one of the most mind-boggling human triumphs! The air would be buzzing with an electrifying sense of wonder, and your curiosity about space and the spirit of exploration would be off the charts. What a blast (off!).

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
Did you end up getting one of those hoverboards from Back to the Future II that you wanted more than anything?

9. Who is your greatest influence?
I have a bunch of influences, but if I was to pick one special group it would be the true creatives in my life – the full-time writers, artists and artisans. They fearlessly zoom in on their passion, unleash their creative awesomeness and never let the well-trodden path distract them. I’m lucky to call some of these people friends and they are a true inspiration in my life.

10. What/who made you start writing?
I was fortunate to have the incredible John Marsden visit my high school and take a few of us for a writing class. I was completely obsessed with his books at the time. He gave us a bunch of prompts to start writing and I can still remember the feeling of sitting in that stuffy room in the library and just never wanting the hour class to end. It was undoubtedly the spark that set me off on my writing journey.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Wanderlust – just hearing the word makes me want to pack my bags and set off on a new adventure, exploring the amazing wonders of our wide and wonderful world. As a side note, I only recently discovered the word petrichor – referring to that fabulous earthy smell that comes with the first rain after a dry spell. It’s my current word obsession!

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I’d go with a Choose Your Own Adventure book to keep the twists, turns and unexpected surprises going!

Samantha Smith lives in Melbourne with her three junior co-authors, an adopted cat and nine-hundred-and-ninety-sevencompost worms. She hopes that her first eco picture book Harriet’s Hungry Worms will inspire young eco warriors to roll up their sleeves and put their food scraps to good use. For more information, see https://samanthasmith.com/