The interview continues – courtesy Jason Fischer

Jason Fischer answered my questions on his blog, and then asked me these:

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Facts and questions

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.

Book Meme: Dodgy List*

 *I don’t know what the selection criteria are, but I think I disagree with them.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline (or mark in a different color) the books you LOVE
4) Reprint this list in your blog.
5) Strikethrough those you hated or couldn’t get through (addition of Fatadelic, via whom this meme came)

1 Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6 The Bible –
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell (I’m more of a Fahrenheit 451 girl)
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman (books one and two only)
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller (started and mislaid)
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (several)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot (it was set for a subject, but I wrote about Kim instead)
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables- LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley Don’t remember if I finished it
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath (unless I read it at uni)
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome (I think I have it somewhere)
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down- Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute (unless my mother read it to us and I am not confusing that with the movie)
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo


Mosaic meme


Mosaic meme

1. That Sinking Feeling, the Princess Kathleen, 1952 Lena Point near Juneau, Alaska, 2. Café, 3. Truth, Lies and Betrayal (9/1939), 4. Cranberry Oatmeal with Blueberry & Flaxmeal Added, 5. Liev Schreiber, 6. Lassi Mania…, 7. Albania from the Old Fort, Corfu, Greece, 8. Our Delicious Meyer Lemons, 9. Katy Carr, 10. What if God was one of us, 11. cap’n chaos & lt. flippant, 12. Tanaudel’s Costume

Created with fd’s Flickr Toys.

The deal:
1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page, pick an image. [My version: use the first image]
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into this mosaic maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name. (Yes, that’s me).

Via Tehani.

Self as a Teenager


Self as a Teenager

(Larger jpg here).

Twelve years on: A lot less eyebrow. A little more dignity, a lot less caring about whether or not I’m embarrassed. More comfortable with how I weigh which is, incidentally, now only a little bit less than then. No cringing around the place in case I do something idiotic or clumsy (neither out of the realm of daily possibility). No braces. I run for pleasure, if not very far. I have no comfy uniform to hide in. I have heard of music after 1970 and used the internet more than twice. I know where they keep the computers. I don’t write poetry as much (whether inspired by JRRT or Banjo Patterson). I’m not in a choir any more. No time wasted in classrooms anymore! If anyone asks you what the biggest difference between distance education and boarding school is, that’s it: classrooms are so inefficient!

Started somewhere near Dave Valeza’s blog. I may try again, with more picture and fewer words.