Name: Barbara Else
Date of birth: 1947
Place of birth: Invercargill
Now living in: Wellington
What is your favourite food?
Avocado – or do I mean roast chicken? – or do I mean fish and chips?…
What was your most embarrassing moment?
I dropped a little bottle of headache pills in a fancy delicatessen, and the pills clattered everywhere. I said to the shop assistant:
At least you’ll have pain-free mice! She was very annoyed.
We don’t have mice here! she said. I was too embarrassed to ever go back.
How do you relax?
By gardening, walking, and by playing with my cat Gretel.
Who inspired you when you were little?
My mum. She always gave me wonderful books to read, and took me to the theatre, and encouraged me to learn about the things I loved.
What were you like at school?
I was very shy and quiet. But whenever we had drama, I’d become full of energy and ideas. I loved to act and write plays.
Favourite: English and Social Studies
Most hated: Maths and Sport
What was the book you most loved as a child?
Which person from the past would you most like to meet?
Who is your favourite author/children’s author?
Why did you want to be a writer?
Because I love reading, and I love working on stories until they’re as good as I can make them.
Do you have a special place where you write your books?
I have a small study upstairs in my house. It has a green chair, green carpet, and apple green walls with lots of cork noticeboards for me to pin notes to myself about what I’m writing.
What’s the best thing and worst thing about being a writer?
Best thing: being able to do what I love best – make up stories.
Worst thing: not having enough time to write because I have to work at other things sometimes.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read everything you can.
This interview is from 2005.