What is it about writing for children that makes you happy?
It’s said that children’s writers never totally grow up. They always retain a childlike sense of wonder and excitement about the world. I’m sure that’s true. I had a very happy childhood in New Zealand. Lots of sun, sea and sand. Lots of laughter with the family, especially my father who never let the truth get in the way of a good story. So remembering my inner child and seeing the ‘can do’ attitude of the children around me, I consider (most of the time) that we are living in the best of all possible worlds.
What is your most unusual quirk?
Like Cinnamon Stevens I have breakfast in bed whenever possible. It’s a good way to ease into the day.
Which author’s or illustrator’s sense of humour do you enjoy? Why?
I really enjoy Jen Storer’s books about Tan Callahan illustrated by Claire Robertson. Tan has a cute, funny take on life. Shamini Flint’s books illustrated by Sally Heinrich are witty and surprisingly educational. Books by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton take you to the very edge of imagining, and beyond. Roald Dahl has a warm, positive approach to life. Other authors I read and reread are P.G. Wodehouse, a master wordsmith, and the Red Dwarf creators Grant Naylor and Rob Grant who write great dialogue.
Give us a one liner to make us smile!
‘She was definitely feeling several twinkles short of a glitter.’ OR ‘There was a fug in the room that could have been bottled and sold as eau de adolescent.’
Which of your own or other book character would you want to meet in person? Why?
Miss Trunchbull from Matilda. I’ll begin by praising her amazing Olympic hammer-throwing ability. Then, while she is basking in remembered glory, I’d ask probing questions and discover whether she really is as monstrous as Mr Dahl portrays. Perhaps she is simply misunderstood?
What is the most comical response you’ve received from a fan?
During one of the launches of my book, a girl on the Q and A panel said, ‘I really like the character of Cosette because she’s nice and has glasses – and I have glasses too!’
What writing advice would you NEVER give to aspiring writers?
Give up now. Your writing is hopeless.
Thank you, Pauline! You’re a superstar! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Like the main characters in her book Pauline lives an hour’s drive from Melbourne in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges. To pay the bills she’s worked as a teacher, teacher-librarian, journalist, theatre publicist and TV script assistant. She has participated in Arts Victoria’s Artist in Schools program and frequently runs writing workshops for children.
Cinnamon Stevens – Crime Buster is Pauline’s first novel, though for many years she wrote plays for adults and children. My Bed is a Crocodile won VicHealth’s award for Innovation in Health Promotion and was seen by over 1,000 people during its city season and three tours. Snakes and Ladders and The Gallery Gamble were published by Bushfire Press. Better Than This, commissioned by Grampians Psychiatric Services, toured extensively through country Victoria and was published by W.W.I.T. Press. A number of children’s plays have appeared in the NSW School Magazine. Most of Pauline’s plays are available from the Australian Script Centre: http://australianplays.org/playwright/ASC-472 .