Interview with Barbara Else

Barbara Else
Photograph by Fleur Wickes, portrait artist.

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.

Book Cover of The Travelling RestaurantWhat was your favourite/most hated subject at school?

Favourite: English and Social Studies

Most hated: Maths and Sport

What was the book you most loved as a child?

The Five Chinese Brothers when I was very small. Later on, I loved the Narnia books by C. S. Lewis.

Which person from the past would you most like to meet?

Geoffrey Chaucer, opens a new window.

Who is your favourite author/children’s author?

There are too many to choose from! But my husband (Chris Else) and one of my daughters (Emma Neale) also write novels, so perhaps I’d better say – Chris Else, and Emma Neale.

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?

An actor.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read everything you can.

Read some books by Barbara Else
More information about Barbara Else
Barbara Else’s website

Read posts featuring Barbara Else from the Christchurch Kids Blog

This interview is from 2005.

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