Interview with Chrissie Keighery

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chrissie Keighery is the author of Outside In, which I reviewed here, as well as numerous other books for teenagers and children (including stories in the Go Girl! series, which has the most awesome pink website ever, and my little sister loves). Chrissie was kind enough to answer a few questions here about life as an author...

1. What inspires your writing?
Generally, I am inspired by people’s perspectives. It never ceases to amaze me how the world, and individual experiences, can be interpreted so differently. I like to explore this. As such, my writing is almost always character driven, and plot is often there to illuminate character choices.

2. What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Emotional. Interested. Loyal.

3. And what three words would you use to describe your writing?
I tried to answer this one and didn’t have much luck. Think it’s probably best left up to the readers…

4. Complete this sentence: My teenage years were...
recorded in a series of diaries in which my best friend made many appearances. Lots of angst and a fair whack of romance; both for people and experiences.

5. Have you always wanted to write for young people? Or did you set out to become a brain surgeon and wind up stumbling down this path? Was the road to publication rocky for you?
I forgot to be a brain surgeon, although I have had many incarnations in terms of jobs. I started off my writing career after having taught at a high school. Being close to young adults, and identifying with their trials and tribulations gave me the impetus to write for them.

Now, I seem to be having a second round of growing up with my daughter. I have written many Go Girls! and now she is older, I have moved back to YA fiction.

My first attempt at a YA novel was published in 1992. I thought that might mean my road wouldn’t be rocky. But of course, it was! It wasn’t until 2005 that I actually was able to make a career out of writing.

6. Who are your favourite authors and which novels are your all-time favourites?
That’s a hard one. There have been so many books at so many junctures of my life. Some that suited, then, and didn’t seem to fit me later. Having said that, I adore Tim Winton, Sonya Hartnett, AA Milne, Cate Kennedy and so many more. My recent favorites are ‘Butterfly’ by Sonya Hartnett and ‘This is How’ by MJ Hyland.

7. Complete this sentence: My life outside of writing is...
busy with kids and husbands (one only) and negotiating ups and downs.

8. If you were a superhero, what would be your name, power and costume?
How about ‘Mentabird’? Then I could have the powers of reading minds (and getting great insight into how other people actually use theirs) and flight (just because it would be fun).

Probably best that my costume would be an invisible suit, but let’s give it a bit of ‘Wonderwoman’ shaping too for when I am able to be seen….
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