Name: Fleur Beale
Date of birth: 22 February 1945
Place of birth: Inglewood
Now living in: Wellington
- What is your favourite food?
- Anything cooked by somebody else.
- Do you have a nickname and if so what is it?
- What was your most embarrassing moment?
- I was ten. The traffic cop came to school to talk about road safety. All I can remember is hoping he wouldn’t ask me anything - he did something much worse - he put his hat on my head and everyone stared. I felt my face getting redder and redder.
- How do you relax?
- Reading of course!
- Who inspired you when you were little?
- My mother - she was a writer and a teller of stories.
- What were you like at school?
- Very quiet, very shy, very allergic to traffic cops.
- What was your favourite/most hated subject at school?
- Favourite: English
Least favourite: P.E.
- What was the book you most loved as a child?
- My mother read us a lot of Rudyard Kiplingopens a new window and I still remember phrases such as ‘the great grey green greasy Limpopo’.
(In The elephant’s childopens a new window, from Just So Storiesopens a new window - Ed.)
- Which person from the past would you most like to meet?
- My great-grandmother who arrived in New Plymouth in the 1840s and nobody was there to meet her. She had to make her own way and earn her living - what would New Zealand really have been like for a young woman on her own then? I’d love to know.
- Who is your favourite author/children’s author?
- Sherryl Jordanopens a new window.
- Why did you want to be a writer?
- I didn’t set out to be one, it sort of snuck up on me, helped and encouraged by my mother and my family.
- Do you have a special place where you write your books?
- I have a study with a lovely view of the sea and the hills.
- What’s the best thing and worst thing about being a writer?
- Best: being able to make up your own world and be your own boss.
Worst: You work on your own a lot so it can be a bit isolating if you’re not careful.
- If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
- Somebody who gets paid to travel to interesting places.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
- Write. Write about what happens to you. Write about how you feel and why you feel like it. And never throw away what you’ve written. Date it and keep it in a big box under your bed.
This interview is from 2002.