1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
When I was 18, I undertook a solo parachute jump to raise money for cancer research. I was given a walkie-talkie so the instructors could communicate with me during the jump and help guide me down. Soon after leaping from the plane, I realised the walkie-talkie had malfunctioned. I began to drift dangerously close to the next field where several massive satellite dishes were located. The instructors were shouting from the ground, but of course, I heard nothing and was on my own. Thankfully, I managed to get the parachute under control and headed back in the right direction. But without the instructor’s guidance, I landed cross-wind, resulting in a rather hard thud and a sore bottom! A very memorable experience which, surprisingly, I loved!
2. What is your nickname?
I am known as Netty by my close friends and family. Sometimes Netty Spaghetti!
3. What is your greatest fear?
I am scared of old buildings and ghosts. I think it’s because I grew up in a spooky 300-year-old house. I often heard strange noises such as tapping on our old typewriter, footsteps and creaking floorboards. Maybe my older siblings were just trying to frighten me. Well, if they were, it worked!
4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Mishmash of funny, serious or quirky (depending on my mood).
5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Imaginative, determined, thoughtful, honest, adaptable.
6. What book character would you be, and why?
I would be Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia. I would love to walk through a wardrobe and enter an entirely different world full of magic and mystery.
7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I’d go back to 1990 (when I started high school) to tell myself all the crazy, wonderful, exciting, scary things happening in 2022 — just to see the look on my face! Then I would use some kind of memory zapper to make sure past-me doesn’t remember meeting present-me because meeting yourself during time travel is bad. Well, according to all the movies and books it is. So, it must be true.
8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
Ah, so you’re still making up stories about unicorns and fairies? That’s cool. You’re living in Australia? Wow! What happens in Neighbours?
9. Who is your greatest influence?
My two boys constantly influence my writing. Their silliness, games and imagination are a great source of inspiration. Even their fears make me stop and think. My new book, Shadow and the Girl, was actually influenced by my eldest when he was about four years old. He was scared of shadows and reflections, which made me wonder — what would happen if a shadow was scared of their child? So yes, my boys are definitely my greatest influence.
10. What/who made you start writing?
In an indirect way, my mother and children made me start writing. Mum had a passion for books and reading. She also loved to write her own stories and poems. Her passion for literature definitely rubbed off on me and I enjoyed creating stories from a young age. When I had my own children, I rediscovered the joy of children’s books. That’s when I really began to take my writing seriously.
11. What is your favourite word and why?
Home. It’s a little word with huge meaning. I am originally from the UK and now living in Western Australia. Both places are home to me. For me, home is not just about where you live, but that feeling of being loved and truly belonging.
12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A few years ago, I sent my mum a book containing questions about her life and experiences. The idea was for her to answer the questions and return it to me, which she did. I now have that beautiful book in my mother’s handwriting, detailing her life in her own words. I can hear her voice in my head as I read it. My mum has since passed away, but I have this little piece of her. I will treasure it forever.
Jeanette Stampone was born in an old English house and grew up with stories of local legends, pixies, ghosts and fairies. She now lives in a small country town in WA with her husband and children.
Jeanette’s debut picture book, Shadow and the Girl, is published by Red Paper Kite. For more information, see www.jeanettestampone.com
March 21, 2022 at 11:59PM Penny Harrison