1. What’s your hidden talent?
I am an excellent daydreamer and am also very talented at hiding it. I do this by disguising it as listening intently, meditation, research, gardening, you name it.
2. Who is your favourite literary villain and why?
It would have to be the Wicked Witch of the West, from The Wizard of Oz. She’s so deliciously evil in her obsession to steal the silver shoes from Dorothy. I love that she carries an umbrella, instead of a broomstick, and is afraid of the dark, as well as water.
3. You’re hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors would you invite? (alive or dead)
Jill Murphy, LM Montgomery, Penelope Lively, Beverly Cleary and Astrid Lindgren. Seriously, how lovely would that be? Of course, the food would be terrible because cooking is not one of my hidden talents.
4. Which literary invention do you wish was real?
Willy Wonka’s three-course dinner gum would come in very handy for my literary dinner party.
5. What are five words that describe your writing process?
Daydreaming, scribbling, drafting, daydreaming, editing.
6. Which are the five words you would like to be remembered by as a writer?
Oh I love her books…
7. Picture your favourite writing space. What are five objects you would find there?
A collection of stones, heart-shaped leaves and dried flowers; a cup of coffee or tea (depending on the time of day); a pile of notebooks (I love buying notebooks); our puppy, Winnie; and a window for optimal daydreaming.
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!)
There was a cotton-candy sky above them as they dangled their legs over the edge of the porch, cracking open pistachio nuts.
(The Way of Dog, by Zana Fraillon)
9. If you could ask one author one question, what would the question be and who would you ask?
I would ask Julie Fogliano: Please, can you teach me everything you know about writing?
10. Which would you rather do: ‘Never write another story or never read another book’?
I’d go with ‘never write another story’ because I can’t live without books and at least I’d still be able to daydream.
Penny Harrison is a children’s author whose work
includes the picture books Extraordinary, the CBCA Notable Me & My Boots, The Little
Coven and Wild Bush Days. A professional writer for more than 20 years,
Penny has contributed to a variety of leading lifestyle magazines,
newspapers, guides and books. She is also the 12 Curly Questions editor for Kids’ Book Review. For more information, see