courtesy of Peter M. Ball

The Rules:

  1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me!”
  2. I will (probably, in my sole discretion, and reserving the right not to – can you tell I’m a lawyer?) respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
  3. You will post the answers to the questions (and the questions themselves) on your blog or journal.
  4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. And thus the endless cycle of the meme goes on and on and on and on…

1) How do you think your art practice affects the way you write?

It’s a great distraction. But it’s also complementary, because with writing  it can be a really long time until you get an idea of what the finished project will look like. With art, you can get a finished product – or something that approximates it – a lot sooner, and see the skeleton any fleshing out will hang on. So art satisfies my need for (slightly more) instant gratification. But it is also another way of storytelling, and it is so much fun just hinting at things through pictures (Gorey is amazing at this) and that is something I find I am doing more with my writing – hinting, leaving gaps for the imagination to fill. Because I am interested in storytelling through pictures and words, I find that many of the lessons I learn in one bleed over into the other.

2) What’s the greatest book cover you’ve ever seen?

These are really interesting questions! Greatest… hmm. My favourite is one of the old covers to The Horse and his Boy, but greatest… That would be (for the moment) Petra Börner’s cover to Susannah Clarke’s The Ladies of Grace Adieu. It’s simple and classic and captures the deliberate manner of the book perfectly. It also reminds me of the ornate covers on Edwardian school prize books (I treat myself to a few of these at the Lifeline booksales). Petra Börner’s website is down as I write this, but there are more of her bookcovers here.

3) You achieved a somewhat insane wordcount during last years Nanowrimo – what’s can you tell us about the novel draft that resulted from such a flurry of wordcount?

It isn’t finished yet and I don’t know what’s going to happen next! But a lot more happened than I thought would and I’m getting the characters into increasingly hot water. It takes place in an England that never existed – the England that exists in the head of someone who grew up reading The Sword in the Stone and Robin Hood and His Merry Men and Ivanhoe. So far, it contains retellings (direct, indirect, discreet, alluded-to and threaded-through) of Robin Hood, Sleeping Beauty, The Princess and the Pea, Baba Yaga, the Norns, more than one ghost story, The Goose Girl and several riddles and ballads. It is ahistorical in every way I can make it, and I keep reading history to make sure of it.

4) If given the opportunity to write for a magazine, or illustrate for a magazine, which one do you choose?
Ouch. That’s a hard one. Illustrate. But that’s because I have an insanely uncomfortable chair and I get to move around more when I’m illustrating. Ask me again when I’ve got a better chair.

5) Which three illustrators most inspire you?
Pauline Baynes. Maurice Sendak. Shaun Tan.

via the fabulous Leah Palmer Preiss, whose art is lovely, dark and deep. Feel free to list your own (I’m a fan of self-tagging).

  1. I did School of the Air, with a Flying Doctor Radio and everything!
  2. I’m more scared of standing on a balcony than of clinging to the side of a cliff, and more scared of riding with a saddle than of riding bareback.
  3. I generally try not to kill insects unless they are actually out to get me, which sometimes causes ethical dilemmas around unidentified Big Black Hairy Spiders (I have a soft spot for Huntsmen).
  4. Laura Ingalls Wilder (panthers), Sherlock Holmes (Hound of the Baskervilles), Azaria Chamberlain (who wouldn’t have been far off my age) and a t-shirt with a giant carnivorous zombie kangaroo (I think – it was a long time ago and the impression is stronger than the image) put me right off being outside in the dark in the Australian Bush (where, I must point out, it is Extremely Unlikely that anything will get you). Oddly enough, Wolf Creek has had no discernible effect. I think I am more scared of the highly improbable (and/or cryptozoology).
  5. I used to be able to hear songs – usually hymns – being sung when no-one wasn’t singing. Quite clearly, but quietly and easily drowned out by other things and very peaceful.
  6. I used to spell colour “coulour” and call diapers “dappies” in an attempt to keep both parents happy.
  7. I once chased a snake across the yard with an axe and cut it up into inch-long segments.