1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I’ll tell you two things. I skip almost every day and I think I like sandworming more than fishing. You catch the sandworms to catch the fish… what a shame you can’t eat the sand worms.
2. What is your nickname?
My family and very close friends call me Anoo. Others call me Daddster. Trendy young people (20s or so) just call me Daddo.
3. What is your greatest fear?
I’m too scared to tell.
4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Hopefully quirky and entertaining – diverse, personal and a bit brave.
5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Personable. Real. Emotional. Fun. Relatable.
6. What book character would you be, and why?
Of my books? Atticus Van Tasticus. I feel we have a lot in common already – like leaping into situations without really knowing what to do, and muddling through. I love that about Atticus – and somehow, he seems to get away with just about everything, for a result, even a bad result, is still a step in a new direction.
7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
1978. Just to see if it was as much fun being an 11 year old as I thought it was. I look back and remember jumping bikes and growing frogs in little dams and fishing, playing make-believe and loving fish-and-chips more than just about anything. There were no video games and we got our first colour TV and everything felt like an adventure and most of the fun was outside. I loved it. It feels like it might have been better making up games, but is that what it was really like? Was it really that good?
8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
Make sure the bolts on your front wheel are tight before doing a jump. It’s good advice, and you can make it work for anything… it’s about being prepared to try and avert disaster, because believe me, jumping your bike off a ramp over a ditch and watching your front wheel fall off is no fun – or maybe fun for your mates watching.
9. Who is your greatest influence?
No one influence, but lots. My parents for their creativity. My first publisher for his insight and help. My kids for their zest for life and of course my wife for her ongoing support.
10. What/who made you start writing?
It’s a combination of my wife and my first publisher. I used to write Jac letters when she was my girlfriend. I lived overseas, she was in Melbourne and I missed her terribly, so when I did fun things I’d write her letters. This is the olden days, before email. And I’d write in accents, like being a Russian ski instructor or an American fisherman or whatever. She was the one who told me I should write.
When I met Mark Macleod, my first publisher, he said he’d be interested in seeing my writing, and was crucial in helping me write for stage-three kids. From there, I could write up or down, both of which I love.
11. What is your favourite word and why?
Serendipity. First, it’s lyrical and musical and sounds fancy. And also because it’s about the same idea cropping up at the same time in another place.
12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Impossible to answer correctly! I think Cloudstreet by Tim Winton.