This is tough! There are so many good ones and I always love discovering new favorites … but, I always look forward to books by David Mitchell, Maggie O’Farrell, Ian McEwan, Tim Winton, Stephen King, Jojo Moyes, Toni Morrison and David Nicholls.
2.Who has had a major influence on your writing?
My sister. She’s a voracious reader of books and she patiently read almost every draft of Secrets of the Tides, never failing to offer insightful and constructive criticism, always in a gentle or funny way. I can’t thank her enough for that.
3.Can you name at least one book that you never finished?
Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
4.What word or words do you always have trouble spelling?
I’m a good speller but I always get confused between slither and sliver – I have to really think about how to use those two.
5.What three adjectives best describe you?
Loyal. Loving. Determined (some might say stubborn!).
6.Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?
The central characters in my novel go on a pretty tough journey so if I had to be one I’d probably choose a more minor character like Bill Dryden. He spends every day nurturing a beautiful garden and goes home each night to his lovely wife and her amazing cooking.
7.Which author would you invite to dinner?
I’m a lousy cook so it would need to be someone forgiving with a good sense of humour. Caitlin Moran would be fun.
8.Where do you write?
When I am at home I write at the kitchen table. When I need to escape I go to a desk in the Sydney Writers’ Room. The balance works well.
9.When do you write?
Whenever I can. Good ideas often come at night, but my best writing seems to happen in the morning – I’m more focused then.
10.What makes you happy?
My family. My friends. Walking on deserted beaches. Curling up with a good book.
11.What do you most fear?
Losing the people I love.
12.What is your favorite vice?
13.What is the quality you most like in yourself?
14.What are the qualities you most like in your friends?
I am always amazed by their generosity – even with immensely busy lives they never fail in their support and kindness.
15.Would you be lying if you said your works were not autobiographical?
Probably. My work is fiction but there must be shades of me in there somewhere. My mother is a psychotherapist so she’d probably have a better answer for you!
16.What part of your personality do you detest?
Negativity. I try to be a glass-half-full kind of person but when I’m tired the littlest things can really get to me.
17.What is your favorite adjective?
I love different words on different days, but today ‘flamboyant’ is working for me. It completely sums up one of the characters I am exploring for my second novel.
18.What is your favorite book?
Just one? It’s almost impossible to choose, but I absolutely adored Maggie O’Farrell’s The Hand that First Held Mine. It’s a beautiful book on motherhood with a structure that unfolds in layers, like a very special puzzle. Amazing.
19.What book would you read three times?
Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr Seuss – it’s a joyous book and I must have read it to my kids at least hundred times already. Everyone should read this book once, especially when feeling sad!
20.To whom would you award the Nobel Prize for Literature and why?
I’d choose someone really popular, like J. K. Rowling who has encouraged generations of kids – particularly boys – to read and love books. What an achievement.