My capacity for humour may have come largely from my father - he liked to entertain people, make people laugh.
It's our potential for good stuff I'm most interested in exploring, but that has most meaning when juxtaposed with things that can go wrong.
Children have limited power to shape their own lives, but when they can experiment with possibilities through books, their optimism can be recharged and kept alive.
I like the idea of young readers using my stories as a sort of moral gym, where they can flex and develop their newly developed moral muscle.
I think, to be a successful author, you've got to be part recluse and part show-off.
Children know when they are being sold a sanitised version of the world, and I think that's a betrayal of the relationship between author and reader.
I like to write stories where young people have a strong feeling about something being fair or unfair, right or wrong, cruel or kind, and they act on the basis of that - often in the face of the prevailing limits of behaviour.
I discovered you can get closer to a character's thoughts and feelings in a book than in a film.
I would never write stories with only despair and defeat and the dark side of life.
Melbourne is my type of city, much more so than Sydney.
Because kids are physically smaller, there's an assumption by people who haven't read a kids' book for a long time that their ideas and themes and problems and ambitions must be commensurately smaller and less important. I would venture that sometimes the opposite is true.
I think the best writers use the language they use every day when they talk to friends. When we talk to each other, we tend to talk in short grabs rather than in long flowing sentences. I think that's not a bad way to write.
I prefer watching people on a screen, and I've had the most pleasurable people-watching experiences at the Palace Cinema in Balwyn.
I've always been aware that to be named after someone from the past carries with it all kinds of bittersweetness.
If we get caught up in a story, it's because we've started to care about the characters, and that can only happen if we've moved beneath the surface.
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