Name: Dave Gunson
Date of birth: 1948
Place of birth: Liverpool, England
Now living in: Auckland
- What is your favourite food?
- Fish and chips, good pasta of just about any sort, fry-ups — yeah!
- Do you have a nickname and if so what is it?
- At school I was ‘Ben’ because of Ben Gunn in Treasure Island (and like Ben, I love cheese).
- What was your most embarrassing moment?
- Realising, too late, that I’d painted the moon wrong in the OWLS poster for NZ Geographic magazine — I’d used a northern hemisphere reference — but in the southern hemisphere it’s viewed ‘upside down’.
- How do you relax?
- Reading, playing music (guitar), more reading…
- Who inspired you when you were little?
- Nobody — all I wanted to do was draw!
- What were you like at school?
- Lazy, bored, naughty — and only enthusiastic when the master was enthusiastic about his subject!
- What was your favourite/most hated subject at school?
- Loved Art and English Literature, liked English Language and Biology and History… hated Maths (except Geometry, which I could see).
- What was the book you most loved as a child?
- As a little kid I loved it when the teacher read to us from The Faraway Tree, by Enid Blyton. Later, I enjoyed the classics — Treasure Island, and Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson and all that… loved encyclopedias… and devoured comics.
- Which person from the past would you most like to meet?
- Very difficult… probably my dad, when he was a boy, or a young man. My dad died in 1998, aged 84, so he grew up in interesting times…
- Who is your favourite author/children’s author?
- Martin Amis, John Steinbeck, V. S. Naipaul, Stephen King and Raymond Briggs.
- Why did you want to be a writer?
- A desire to write came long after the desire to draw and paint. To create a fictional world and manipulate the characters within it is the best thing — like being let loose in a sweet shop!
- Do you have a special place where you write your books?
- Nope — in the studio, in the lounge, on the deck — with radio on, radio off, whatever.
- What’s the best thing and worst thing about being a writer?
- Seeing the work finished and knowing that there’s nothing more one can do to improve it.
- Seeing the book in print.
- The range of people’s reactions and unexpected viewpoints, etc.
- For an artist and a writer, there’s nothing more intimidating than a perfectly blank piece of paper.
- Not having a pencil long enough to doodle on the ceiling when lying in bed!
- Getting stuck! (writer’s and artist’s blank!)
- If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
- An illustrator/artist.
- If you weren’t an illustrator/artist, what would you like to be?
- A writer.
- And if I couldn’t be either, I’d be a musician… but, I’m that as well, so perhaps I’d work for the Department of Conservation.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
- Read, read, read, practise, practise, practise (not forgetting re-write, re-write, re-write)
- Write to please yourself first — if it’s not fun and enjoyable, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons!
This interview is from 2005.