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

Tuesday 15 August 2023

12 Curly Questions with author Samantha Tidy

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I like to collect tea towels – not the ones you dry dishes with, but the retro touristy ones that are great for wrapping scones after baking. My favourite ones are from Woomera, Phillip Island ('cos it was my mum’s) and one with an Anzac Biscuit recipe on it.

2. What is your nickname?
It doesn’t often get rolled out, but Tidy is a hot favourite and Sambo is what my oldest friends call me.

3. What is your greatest fear?
I really don’t like stepping on sea cucumbers and, sadly, I know this from experience. I spend a lot of time watching my feet under the water in the ocean.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Navigator, story finder, connector of community and lighter of lighthouses.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
I have never given up.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
I’d be The Saucepan Man from The Magic Faraway Tree – a bit hard of hearing, lives in a tree (I mean, really, would there be anything better than this?) but I also really like strange adventures to faraway lands. He’s also a great dress-up opportunity for CBCA Book Week!

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I would go to the future – around 2100, to see the wonderful world we will create, with real climate action. I would then come back and tell everyone it’s going to be okay – and support the positive changes we make.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
Why do you look so old?! Then she’d likely be pretty chuffed I’ve done all the things I’ve done, flick her hair and curtly say 'cool'.

9. Who is your greatest influence?
Enid Blyton and Tim Winton. I write for both adults and children, so my writing brain sits in two places at once sometimes.

10. What/who made you start writing?
As a child, nothing filled me with more joy than an unopened box of HB lead pencils. If teachers weren’t watching, I’d have a cheeky eye on the stationery cupboard at the start of the year. Then I realised why – I just had to use those pencils. This was the start, but it’s important to keep writing, so I would say it was all the wonderful books I read as a child. This was followed by great teachers, which was followed by great writers as teachers at university. My whole writing journey has been about finding the right (write?) people to light that path, but it’s also been dotted with doubters and doomers. Eventually, you find your own voice, and you just sharpen those pencils.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Syndicate D’Initiative. Its French for Tourist Bureau and when you say it, it’s like hundreds and thousands dancing in your mouth. That and Mille Feuille, which you absolutely have to say properly in French as the Feuille has to halfway enter your mouth and then bounce out again off the back of your tongue. Don’t let that happen with a real Mille Feuille (and please don’t call it a vanilla slice!)

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Sarah Wilson’s This One Wild and Precious Life.

Samantha Tidy has both an undergraduate degree and a Masters degree in Creative Writing. She is a passionate permaculturalist, francophone, library fancier, educator and award-winning author of both adult and children’s books, writing fiction and non-fiction that seeks to cultivate community and connection. Born in Fremantle WA, she currently lives in Canberra. For more information, see www.samanthatidy.com.