1. What’s your hidden talent?
I am a little bit artistic. I have a Fine Art degree, which I spent making large sculptures, and I can actually draw, at least by author standards. I would never illustrate my own work. I am blown away by the talents of picture book illustrators and can’t hold a candle to them. But, I am fairly good at Pictionary or putting little pictures in the margins of notebooks.
2. Who is your favourite literary villain and why?
The big fish in This is Not my Hat by Jon Klassen. I guess technically the little fish could be the villain due to his thieving nature, but the determination and cold, ruthless retribution of the big fish makes him such an unsung villain. Otherwise, it has to be Captain Hook in the book version of Peter Pan. If you take away the Disney, he is downright terrifying and such a great villain. He smokes two cigars at once, actually employs his hook as an extra weapon when fighting and hunts children. Terrifying.
3. You’re hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors would you invite? (alive or dead)
Ben Elton, William Shakespeare, Jessica Townsend, Mem Fox and Theodor Seuss Geisel (and there is no way I am cooking).
4. Which literary invention do you wish was real?
5. What are five words that describe your writing process?
Quick, hopeful, imaginative, misspelt and quirky.
6. Which are the five words you would like to be remembered by as a writer?
His books said it all.
7. Picture your favourite writing space. What are five objects you would find there?
Laptop, scrunched up post-it notes, multiple pens (only some of them still working), a pillow and some sort of empty sugary food packaging.
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!)
Lodged between hope and optimism, I look forward to the year ahead. Keeper of the Lost Cities – Lodestar. My 11-yearold has me hooked on this series and I am trying to catch up.
9. If you could ask one author one question, what would the question be and who would you ask? I would ask Jessica Townsend for a complete breakdown on the rest of the Nevermoor series, with explicit detail. Possibly so much detail that I would need her to write it down for me in a number of books. I mean, she is already coming to dinner.
10. Which would you rather do: ‘Never write another story or never read another book’?
That is like asking me if I had to choose, would I choose to breathe or have my heart beat. I think stopping either would be terribly difficult but I think that writing is such a part of me I could never not write.
Paul Russell is a primary teacher, artist, playwright and children’s author. Having been in classrooms for over 30 years, it really isn’t surprising that all of his heroes are teachers. Paul is particularly passionate about children’s literacy and in building an appetite within children for the written word and sharing stories. For more information, see www.ekbooks.org.
January 24, 2022 at 11:33PM Penny Harrison