Author Interview: Jackie French

Jackie FrenchMy Book Corner is honoured and delighted and … ok very EXCITED, to have Jackie French visit our book corner.

In January 2014 Jackie French took over from Boori Monty Pryor and Alison Lester, who set a great precedent as the Inaugural Laureates for Australia.

With a career spanning 20 years and more than 140 books (including Diary of A WombatA Day to Remember and more recently – Dingo) it’s intriguing to learn that it all started with a wombat damaged typewriter which aided Jackie in presenting Harper Collins with what one editor declared to be the messiest and worst spelt manuscript ever received. The rest is history …. !?!

Grab a cup of tea and urm a scone, and enjoy reading through Jackie’s very entertaining replies to the My Book Corner questions. Thanks Jackie!

Tell us about you in 25 words or less.

The person watching in the corner, analyzing, and wondering what’s for lunch.

What makes you happy?

Wombats, words, friends, family, the first sunlight down the valley, scones with cherry jam and cream,  swimming in the creek, and wondering ’what would happen if…’

Where have you always wanted to visit, but haven’t made it to … yet? (and why)

Three million years in the future. It is tantalizing to deduce humanity’s past, but not  know ‘what happens next?’ Why: no faster than light space craft. Yet.

Where is your favourite place to write?  Describe it to us.

My study. 20,000 books, 10 squares metres piled with paper, 5 square metres of free floor, two desks, both generations old, one hand carved  family sized rocking horse made with wood from a fallen casaurina tree, 100 varied wombat statues (approx), all gifts- would never buy one- three walls of windows looking out at a creek, a wombat hole, an orchard of 800 fruit trees and about 272 kinds of fruit, a tangle of roses and salvias, 112 species of birds, a  geranium eating wallaby and occasionally my husband.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

Wombats and foxes grow fluffy before an extra hard winter. Turtles climb to higher ground ten days before a flood. Humans have forgotten how to sense where we are.

What’s the best thing about being a published author?

I can have a break for scones (almost) any time I like.

What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked (and what was your answer)?

Grandma would always ask ‘Now, would you like a scone?’ In all Grandma’s 88 years no one ever said ‘no’ to that question, especially me. World War two might have been shortened by two and a half metres if all parties had been fed with Grandma’s scones. Grandma’s scones help put the world into proportion.

Who or what inspires you?

Wombats, words, friends, family, the  first sunlight down the valley, scones with cherry jam and cream,  swimming in the creek and wondering ’what would happen if…’

What is your worst habit?

Telling the truth. Fiercely. (But by the time I’m 150 I may have learned tact. Or to shut up.)

Your favourite word(s) and why?

Zugzwang, and not just because it is useful in scrabble. It means a situation where any move  will mean a loss- which is life, really.  Our society focuses on gain, but loss can be beautiful. Accepting it as inevitable leads to focusing on  now,  as well as the next three million years. When times are at their hardest humans are capable of the greatest generosity, self sacrifice, duty, inventiveness and empathy.  I saw my father change in the eleven years he cared for my terminally ill stepmother. He said that of all that she gave him, her dying was the greatest gift of all, as it taught him at last how to live.

Tell us about your next project in 25 words or less.

The Girl from Snowy River, second in the series that began with A Waltz for Matilda. The women of our history have been pushed into supporting roles. ‘But the girl from Snowy River let the pony have its head, and she swung her stockwhip round and gave a cheer.’ It still works, doesn’t it? The women were there, too.

Did we forget anything?

The date scones. And what’s for lunch?

Just For Fun

Tea or coffee?     Both. Sometimes with scones.

Paper books or e-books?      Both. Lots. Sometimes with scones.

Vegemite or Marmite?     Both. (Not on scones).

Write or type?     Both. Lots.

Poetry or prose?     Both. Lots. Sometimes about scones.

Beach or bush?     Both. Lots. But I am a beach walker. I swim in creeks, not the sea.

Hot or cold?     Both.  Hot scones, cold jam. Tepid is good too.

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