With special guest Penni Russon

Monday, April 6, 2009

Unfortunately for Laura, Dale Thomas was unavailable. I did, however, manage to get a hold of the fabulous author, blogger and prompt-email-replier (it's an admirable trait), Penni Russon. You might know her from her Eglantines Cake blog or as the author of the magical Undine trilogy. She has a fantastic section on her website of advice for young writers which is definitely worth checking out. Her next book, Little Bird, is due out this July.

1. Describe yourself in three words. (Don’t use ‘nice’, ‘pretty’ or ‘good’ because your Grade Six teacher will read this and be very disappointed.)

Pointy, clever, distractable

2. Who are your favourite authors and what are your favourite books? (You are not allowed to name yourself or your own books. Okay, you can if you really love yourself that much.)

So many the sky could break. So here's a random smattering: Unveiled by Mary Loudon (a collection of interviews with nuns), The Spare Room by Helen Garner, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, Momo by Michael Ende, The Changeover by Margaret Mahy

3. Complete this sentence: My life outside of writing is…

glamorous, not.

4. Have you always wanted to be a writer or did you stumble off the path on your way to becoming a brain surgeon and somehow wind up writing for young people? How rocky was the road to publication for you?

I kind of did always want to be a writer, but I wanted to be other things too - including a clown, an actor, a nutritionist, an archaeologist and a curator. The closest I came to being something else was archaeologist, which I studied at university. But then I realised it was the stories I was interested in anyway. I worked as an editor for a while, but by then I knew I wanted to be a writer.

My path wasn't very rocky. I worked as a baby editor at Allen & Unwin, and became good friends with Eva (who was then editorial assistant). By the time I'd finished a novel she was a commissioning editor at Random House. So I had an 'in', I suppose. It was definitely a huge boost to my confidence to be able to put it straight into someone's hands instead of mailing it in anonymously and keeping my fingers crossed. My perfect happy ending was when Eva returned to Allen & Unwin and brought me back into the fold with her...I love all my peeps at Random House but Allen & Unwin is a home to me.

5. If you were a superhero, what would be your name, costume and power?

My secret identity would be Anwen Sha (that was my Neverwinter Nights name), curator of a large metropolitan museum. My supername would be Girl Awesome, and my power would be wicked fighting skills, no guns. My costume would be something along the lines of this:

Huge thanks to Penni for taking the time to fill out quirky questionnaire.
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