Name: Bill O’Brien
Date of birth: 3 February 1946
Place of birth: Wellington
Now living in: Dunedin
- What is your favourite food?
- I really love whitebait but because it is now so rare it is only an occasional treat.
- Do you have a nickname and if so what is it?
- What was your most embarrassing moment?
- We all have embarrassing moments but I really can’t think of any one moment that stands out.
- How do you relax?
- I like playing sport, especially tennis, but sometimes I just like to blob out in front of the telly watching a funny film.
- Who inspired you when you were little?
- Most of my role models were sports people and I do recall the incredible feat of Ed Hillary in climbing Everest. I’ve written a couple of stories about his exploits.
- What were you like at school?
- Because I was quite small I had to stand up for myself but I was still rather shy and quiet.
- What was your favourite/most hated subject at school?
- I found English quite easy, but always seemed to struggle with Maths.
- What was the book you most loved as a child?
- Probably Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe. I liked adventure stories.
- Which person from the past would you most like to meet?
- I would like to meet people from historical events like Joan of Arc, Genghis Khan and the list goes on. However from a literary point of view, Hans Christian Andersen.
- Who is your favourite author/children’s author?
- James Clavell is my favourite author because he had a way of making me see what it was he was describing. For children’s writing it would be hard to go past Hans Christian Andersen what amazing ideas he had.
- Why did you want to be a writer?
- It was a challenge. Someone said I couldn’t write so I set out to write as many things as I could and get them published. When I get to 100 publications I will remind him of what he said.
- Do you have a special place where you write your books?
- I have an office at home and write most days sometime between about 9 and 5.
- What’s the best thing and worst thing about being a writer?
- The best thing is seeing your work in published form. I put a copy into my collection and enjoy watching it grow. The worst thing is going over and over your work perfecting it. Editing is the difference between being published or not.
- If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
- I think we have a great country and I’d like to promote it by working in the tourism sector.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
- Never write something and think ‘that’s it, it’s finished’. Go over it several times very critically. You will be surprised how many times you can make a piece better.
This interview is from 2002.