1. What’s your hidden talent?
Making porridge! Seriously, I am a terrible cook and the only thing I can make is porridge. All my grandchildren demand ‘Nana porridge’ as soon as they see me. My secret is soaking rolled oats in milk all night before cooking, and never spoiling the dish with sugar or fruit.
2. Who is your favourite literary villain and why?
It would have to be Lord Vetinari, the evil Patrician, from the Terry Pratchett Discworld series. All of the characters in Pratchett’s books are hilarious spoofs, and Vetinari, despite his dastardly ways, adds a great humorous touch.
“I have to ask, sir…Why does it have to be done like this?"
Vetinari smiled. "Can you keep a secret, Mister Lipwig?"
"Oh, yes, sir. I’ve kept lots."
"Capital. And the point is, so can I. You do not need to know.” (From Raising Steam, by Terry Pratchett)
3. You’re hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors would you invite? (alive or dead)
Oh, fantastic! I’m going to invite some of the authors who were my favourites when I was a child – the people who put me on the path to becoming the writer I am now:
Rumer Godden, who wrote Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, and fascinated me with her unique writing style; Rachel Field, who wrote Hitty, the adventures of a wooden doll, and ignited my obsession with the past; Enid Blyton who carried me off into other worlds with all her fantasies; Joyce Lankester Brisley, who wrote Milly-Molly-Mandy, and taught me the joy of music and rhythm in prose; Noel Streatfeild who wrote Ballet Shoes and other stories that pulled at my heart strings; A.A… Oh dear, that’s five. I’ll have to stop. Do you think they’ll mind if I serve them porridge for dinner?
4. Which literary invention do you wish was real?
Time travel, of course! For as far back as I can remember, I have wanted to visit other times. But I definitely wouldn’t want to actually live in another time. When I sent Perry back to the Roman Empire, in The Boy Who Stepped Through Time, he had to sit on a shared toilet seat with other people, wipe his bottom with a sponge on a stick, and share a bath with people he didn’t know, in dirty, scummy water. Yuck!
5. What are five words that describe your writing process?
Research, research, research, research, research. I have to drag myself away from the research to actually write – but then I procrastinate for ages with lots of planning! And if I ever get stuck with the plot I just head right back to research and I always find the answer there!
6. Which are the five words you would like to be remembered by as a writer?
Took me into another world.
7. Picture your favourite writing space. What are five objects you would find there?
A closed door – I need peace and quiet to write, a photo of all my grandchildren, a computer, a printer, a pencil – because, although I compose on the computer, every now and then I print out what I’ve written and read it out loud with a pencil in my hand, making corrections. By reading out loud, I hear the rhythm and flow of the words – and check they make sense!
8. Grab the nearest book, open it to page 22 and look for the second word in the first sentence. Now, write a line that starts with that word. (Please include the name of the book!)
Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. (Word taken from The House at Pooh Corner by AA Milne that I’m in the middle of reading to a grandson)
9. If you could ask one author one question, what would the question be and who would you ask?
I always have problems thinking up plots, so I would like to ask any author who writes really gripping, emotionally powerful plots to give me an idea for my next book. Garth Nix would be a good start… Or Glenda Millard…
10. Which would you rather do: ‘Never write another story or never read another book’?
That’s easy. I looove reading, and ever since I was little, I’ve kept a book to read on the kitchen table (while I eat my porridge). But if I have to make a choice, I’d have to say I’d never read another book, because I never, ever want to give up writing. While I was writing The Boy Who Stepped Through Time, I was so caught up in the plot that I propped my laptop on the table instead of a book and kept on writing while I ate. I was so emotionally involved in the life and world I was creating, I didn’t want to leave it to read any other book!
Anna Ciddor has always been fascinated by the past. It would be her dream come true to step through time! Instead, she immerses herself in research and hunts out the tiniest details so she can bring the past to life in her imagination – and in her books. Anna’s meticulous work has been recognised by a grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council, three of her novels have been selected as Notable Books by the Children’s Book Council of Australia, and several have been translated into other languages to be enjoyed around the world. For more information, see www.annacidor.com.
September 21, 2021 at 12:34PM olive