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.
- What 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.
- 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.
This interview is from 2005.