Sasha Grishin Q&A

Q&A with Sasha Grishin, author of Australian Art: A History, shortlisted for the 2015 ABIA Illustrated Book of the Year

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How did the idea to write your book originate?

I generally write a book because I cannot find it on the shelf as it does not exist. We have no extensive recent history of Australian art, discussed in all of its different glorious manifestations, across all mediums, including Indigenous and non- Indigenous art, from prehistoric cave painting through to the present day. Research involved tens of thousands of kilometres travelled to see galleries, museums, exhibitions and many, many artists’ studios, thousands of hours spent in libraries across Australia and numerous discussions with people working in Australian art at many different levels. About a decade later a manuscript emerged.

What’s your favourite thing about being a published author?

Until the book appears, you have private thoughts which are shared with a circle of friends. Once it is in print, your ideas appear in the public domain and you engage a huge audience and, in the case of this book, it has been a very responsive and interactive audience.

What are some of the things you love about Australian bookstores?

In my acknowledgments to this book I list two of my favourite bookstores, in Melbourne and Sydney, which have been an integral part of my education. For me, a good Australian bookstore is like an intellectual community, where through the act of browsing there is productive territory discovered for creative cross-fertilisation.

What’s the most recent Australian book that you read and loved?

Where Song Began: Australia’s Birds and How They Changed the World by Tim Low. If you could meet any Australian author, dead or alive, who would you like to

meet?

The poet, John Shaw Neilson

What Australian book had the biggest impact on you as a child?

Eleanor Dark’s The Timeless Land.
After readers have finished reading your book, which Australian book would you

recommend they read next?

Betty Churcher’s Australian Notebooks.

Garth Nix Q&A

Q&A with Garth Nix, author of Clairel, shortlisted for the 2015 ABIA Older Children Book of the Year

Garth Nix with Clariel

How did the idea to write your book originate?

I actually had the basic idea for Clariel way back in 1999, when I was writing Lirael. I’d just introduced a character and I made a note asking myself, “How does someone get to become an ancient, evil necromancer?” In Clariel, I set out to answer that question from long ago…

What’s your favourite thing about being a published author?

Even after thirty or so books, I still love the moment when I hold that first finished copy in my hands. I even smell the paper and ink, and if it’s a paperback, feel the ‘flop’ and check the spine. I read ebooks too, but it’s not quite the same…

What are some of the things you love about Australian bookstores?

I love accidental discovery in bookstores, just wandering around, picking up books, reading the blurb, reading a few lines, putting some back, picking up others – and always finding new books to love, often ones I didn’t even know existed before I started to browse.

What’s the most recent Australian book that you read and loved?

Clade by James Bradley.
If you could meet any Australian author, dead or alive, who would you like to

meet?

There’s a bunch. Right now, with ANZAC Day coming up, I’d like to have a chat with Charles (C.E.W.) Bean, the official historian of World War One. I’d ask him about my great-great-uncle, Captain J. E. Nix, who Bean called a ‘fine young officer’. He wrote about his death in 1916.

What Australian book had the biggest impact on you as a child?

It’d be a toss-up between The Magic Pudding and Bottersnikes and Gumbles and The Muddleheaded Wombat and…

After readers have finished reading your book, which Australian book would you recommend they read next?

It depends on what you like to read. Fortunately there are Australian authors writing pretty much everything. If you like fantasy, anything by Juliet Marillier or Kate Forsyth.

R.A Spratt Q&A

Q&A with R. A. Spratt, author of Friday Barnes 1: Girl Detective, shortlisted for the 2015 ABIA Older Children’s Book of the Year

 

How did the idea to write your book originate?

 

‘Friday Barnes, Girl Detective’ is a combination of several sets of ideas that have been floating around in my brain for years.

 

I’ve always loved mysteries. I particularly loved the character of Sherlock Holmes. I liked the idea of a very bright girl largely raising herself by reading books, and being very eccentric as a result. So Friday Barnes is basically what happened when I combined those three sets of ideas, and weave through all the interesting characters I’ve met during the course of my own education.

 

What’s your favourite thing about being a published author?

 

The creative freedom. I pride myself on being an excellent television writer, where the challenge is to give the producer what they want. But it has been so satisfying to become an author, to write what I want, and discover that I’m even better at that.

 

What are some of the things you love about Australian bookstores?

 

That there are so many of them. We’re lucky to still have independent bookstores. I love just being in Dymocks George St because I spent so much time as a teenager hanging out there looking at books and thinking about all the things there were to learn in the world. I love the service of online booksellers like Booktopia.com to people who live in country towns like me.

 

What’s the most recent Australian book that you read and loved?

 

Noni the Pony, by Alison Lester. I have a four year old. Some books stand up well to the test of being read 5000 times. This is one of them.

 

If you could meet any Australian author, dead or alive, who would you like to meet?

 

Ruth Park. I think the Muddle Headed Wombat is a brilliant character. She was a great comedy writer. I would love to ask her all about writing for radio.

 

Okay I’ve just realized Ruth Park was born in New Zealand. But my husband met her once he was walking in Mosman. An old lady stopped him and asked him to prune a branch off her bush that she could reach. He later realized she was Ruth Park.

 

What Australian book had the biggest impact on you as a child?

 

Hating Alison Ashely. It’s funny, it’s touching and there are a lot of brackets. I like using brackets (perhaps because I like to digress) and I felt this book gave me permission to use brackets too.

 

After readers have finished reading your book, which Australian book would you recommend they read next?

 

Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left by Robin Klein or Master of the Grove by Victor Kelleher.

Friday Barnes 1 -Girl Detective