Name: Tessa Duder
Date of birth: 13 November 1940
Place of birth: Auckland
Now living in: Mission Bay, Auckland
- What is your favourite food?
- Oysters and rock melons.
- Do you have a nickname and if so what is it?
- Not really. My parents called me Flossie as a child, and I've answered to Tess over the years, but generally have been called by my full name. I don’t have a second name at all.
- What was your most embarrassing moment?
- When a teacher ordered me out of a school assembly for talking. The problem for me was that I acting head girl, and was trying to arrange something concerned with the assembly with one of the prefects.
- How do you relax?
- Play my lovely Broadwood grand piano. Read or listen to a favourite CD. Do crochet. Go for a swim. And sometimes, just collapse in front of TV.
- Who inspired you when you were little?
- Older swimmers like Dawn Fraser. Dancers like Margot Fonteyn. My father.
- What were you like at school?
- Bossy, outgoing, into everything, good at English and hopeless at maths!
- What was your favourite/most hated subject at school?
- Favourite - English, music and drama
Most hated - undoubtedly maths, 'tho' Latin came a close second.
- What was the book you most loved as a child?
- I think Richard Bird in the Bush, an early picture book, about 'here', not 'there.' An early novel - an illustrated edition of Charles Kinglsey’s The Water Babies, and Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes, in equal measure.
- Which person from the past would you most like to meet?
- Joan of Arc
- Who is your favourite author/children’s author?
- Margaret Mahy
- Why did you want to be a writer?
- A fascination with language and people, their stories, what drives them to do what they do.
- Do you have a special place where you write your books?
- For 20 years as a full-time writer, always an office, usually in my home but for one period (when all my daughters were mid-teens) ten minutes drive away!
- What’s the best thing and worst thing about being a writer?
- The best thing: meeting other writers, travelling, and hearing someone say that my book gave them pleasure or changed something for them.
The worst thing: the necessary long long hours of lonely exhausting writing, when it’s so easy to lose confidence in yourself, and the necessary act of then handing it over to your publisher/agent/spouse/child to be judged.
- If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
- Play in an orchestra, or be a touring actor. Run a theatre company.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
- Use your early years to to DO lots of things: study, travel, be curious about everything. Read lots, and write daily, even if it’s only an e-mail. Make yourself interested and interesting. Then, later, you will have something to say.
This interview is from 2002.