My new book My Life & Other Weaponised Muffins, illustrated by genius funnyman Gus Gordon is out today. To celebrate, here’s a hard-hitting interview featuring questions sent to me by year 3 / 4 students from a primary school in Bellingen, NSW.
We have just enjoyed your ‘Dog Kisser’ story. Is the story real?
Yes, it’s based on a real guy that we used to encounter every afternoon when we’d take our dog for a walk. I’m not a dog kisser so the trauma of watching a grown man be licked on the neck, face and mouth by a dog was very difficult to recover from. That’s why I wrote the story. And The Dog Kisser makes an appearance in the new ‘Weaponised Muffin’ book, too. Who, in your class, is a dog kisser?
Why did you decide to be an author?
I couldn’t help it. I love stories so much. I started out in film and TV as an actor and TV presenter and writer and I directed some things, too. And then I had an opportunity to write my first children’s book. I loved it so much that that’s what I’ve focussed on for the last ten years. As an author you get to be the writer, director, production designer, cinematographer and to play all the different characters in the story.
It looks like you have such a fun life.
Non. Stop. Fun. Heehaw. Not really. I have lots of fun writing and then touring the books around the country and speaking to lots of kids, but there are many days when the words won’t flow and I have to try every trick in the book to get my 2000 words written. Go for a walk, drink coffee, read another book, stand on my head, eat a whole raw pumpkin … I’ll do anything to get the words on the page.
How old are you?
I’m 70. But I borrow my wife’s eye cream, which is why I look so youthful. You should try it. If an eight or nine year-old used this cream it would make you look like you hadn’t been born yet.
Where did you go to school? We go to school in Bellingen NSW.
I’ve heard lots of great things about Bellingen. I’ve been part of Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival but all of my events were outside Bellingen. I went to school in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney.
|A special, limited-edition illustration of the Dog Kisser drawn by Gus Gordon at a live event we did together in QLD. 😉|
Where do you get your ideas from?
Everywhere! In the strangest places. If I sit down and say, ‘Right, I’m going to come up with an idea,’ my mind becomes a desert. Instead, I do other things and the ideas seem to fall out of the sky. I had an idea when I was swimming yesterday afternoon. And I wrote a first draft of that short story for the next My Life book this morning. And another story idea for the next book about a grandmother committing a robbery in order to win a fruitcake bake-off came to me three years ago when I was travelling in the south of England. I’m just getting around to writing it now. So get a notebook, jot down your ideas and when you need an idea, go back and raid it for the best stuff.
Good luck! And thanks for being such fine journalists.