It appears I just managed to tie Tanya Landman down to answering some questions right in the middle of some serious travelling. Recently back from Istanbul (who says an author’s life is not charmed?), I understand she is about to travel to Sharjah, for its Children’s Reading Festival. I’m guessing they feel about Tanya as I do after having read two of her fabulous novels, that she’s not a bad author to invite.
Here is Tanya, telling you some of her trade secrets in my latest profile:
How many books did you write before the one that was your first published book?
Ouch. Do I have to answer that one?
Really? You’ll apply thumbscrews if I don’t????
OK, OK – if I must….
One and a half. (But PLEASE don’t mention this ever again. They were dire.)
Best place for inspiration?
Asleep in bed. Seriously. I quite often wake up with new ideas or solutions to plot problems that have been bugging me.
Would you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Perhaps you already do?
I do. (My real name is Eunice Petunia Biggs III.)
What would you never write about?
Anything creepy. I am a complete wuss when it comes to scary supernatural things. Vampires, demons, ghosts…I can’t cope with reading it so I certainly couldn’t write it.
Through your writing: the most unexpected person you’ve met, or the most unexpected place you’ve ended up in?
The Houses of Parliament at the launch of the Summer Reading Challenge just after the last election. I got my fingers stuck together whilst trying to eat an unexpectedly gooey fondant fancy and couldn’t shake anyone by the hand. Ed Vaizey gave a speech. (I should have headbutted him when I had the chance.)
Which of your characters would you most like to be?
I love Charley (Buffalo Soldier), Siki (Apache) and Itacate (Goldsmith’s Daughter) but they have such a tough time I wouldn’t want to be any of them. Poppy Fields just KEEPS on finding dead bodies, which might get tiring. I think Katrina Picket (Waking Merlin) would be best – she gets to ride on a dragon AND save the world.
Do you think that having a film made of one of your books would be a good or a bad thing?
Good thing. Deffo. I’m expecting a call from Johnny Depp any day now.
What is the strangest question you’ve been asked at an event?
‘When your son was sick on the swirly-whirly super de-luxe leather executive chair – what colour was the vomit?’
Do you have any unexpected skills?
I have magic scritchy-scratching fingers that can make a pig faint with happiness.
The Famous Five or Narnia?
Narnia. Talking animals? Timmy just can’t compete.
Who is your most favourite Swede?
ABBA. They count as one person, right?
How do you arrange your books at home? In a Billy? By colour, or alphabetically?
Arrange? You what??? Mine are stacked double on shelves or standing in piles. It’s all a total muddle and I can’t ever find a thing.
Which book would you put in the hands of an unwilling eight-year-old boy reader?
Stig of the Dump. Works every time.
If you have to choose between reading or writing, which would it be?
I am confused. I mean if I’m writing I’m reading what I’ve written, aren’t I? Or am I supposed to write blindfolded?
I suspect that Eunice Petunia didn’t take these questions all that seriously. Which is good, as it means she was obeying my orders. Although, that tin foil was stretching things a bit, even for me. It seems that if Tanya can switch off the tin foil a little, she might have chosen Thomas Lundqvist, genius puppeteer, instead. (No, I’d never heard of him, either.)
(If anyone is up for doing profile #13, get in touch with me…)