Name: Jennifer Beck
Date of birth: 9 December 1939
Place of birth: Auckland
Now living in: Howick, Auckland
- What is your favourite food?
- Fresh homemade bread.
- Do you have a nickname and if so what is it?
- No (at least not one that I’ve overheard).
- What was your most embarrassing moment?
- As a child, in a play, having the curtain fall down when I was changing costumes and had no clothes on. Audience thought it was the funniest part of the performance.
- How do you relax?
- Walking, reading, eating (probably more than I should).
- Who inspired you when you were little?
- My mother and father, who both loved books and valued education.
- What were you like at school?
- I enjoyed school, but also liked times when the river flooded so that we could not meet the school bus and stayed home and read books most of the day.
- What was your favourite/most hated subject at school?
- Favourite: Art, English and French language.
Disliked: Maths. Still do.
- What was the book you most loved as a child?
- I don’t know what it was called, but it was a book of poems with a New Zealand flavour. My favourite poem was about Marmite… I remember the line
I just want a piece of bread with Marmite on!. I would like to find a copy of this book.
- Which person from the past would you most like to meet?
- Leonardo da Vinci.
- Who is your favourite author/children’s author?
- I like Joy Cowley’s humour, and Margaret Mahy’s imagination. As both author and illustrator, I consider Michael Foreman’s War Boy a wonderful book.
- Why did you want to be a writer?
- I’m not sure that I did - I enjoy creative activities, and this led to writing.
- Do you have a special place where you write your books?
- Mainly at home, but now I have a laptop computer I sometimes write at a small beach overlooking the Firth of Thames.
- What’s the best thing and worst thing about being a writer?
- Worst first - keeping on writing, when I’ve struck a rough patch in the story and feel like giving up. Also having what I think is a good story, rejected.
Best - meeting readers and other authors.
- If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
- An illustrator.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
- Observe and experience life, and then write for yourself! If your writing is published and read by others, that is a bonus. If not published, still value it because you have created your own original piece of work.
This interview is from 2002.