Sandy Fussell, author of Samurai Kids: White Crane and it's following sequels are to be released in the USA through Candlewick Press! Congrats to Sandy - another Aussie author making a start overseas. We'll be featuring Sandy on this blog through the week as our Author Spotlight!
Which book is memorable from your teen years?
Catch-22. Funny. Witty. Satiric. Up until then books had entertained me. But Catch-22was the first one that made me think . . .
Describe your high school English teacher in three words...
Only three words? Vic was my teacher for three years. He was an inspirational educator – way ahead of his time - but he told the worst jokes ever! Five years ago I tracked him down and now we’re good friends. I’m the second most famous author he knows – right behind Marcus Zusak who used to teach at his last school!
Your book of the moment?
I just finished Celeste Walters’ A Certain Music. It’s a new Aussie Random House (Woolshed Press) release. One of those ageless books – written for the junior market but with so much depth there are levels only a much older reader will find. I laughed and I cried. And I should have seen the end coming a mile a way but I was so busy experiencing the book I didn’t see the twist until I walked smack into it.
What do you use to mark your page when reading?
I have a wonderful crystal bookmark given to me by a good friend. It’s beautiful. But I am embarrassed to admit it never fitted my book quite right for about six months - that’s when I realised I was using it back-to-front! I do a lot of things back-to-front.
Favourite place to read?
Everywhere. On the school steps, at the bus stop, in the bath, in bed, at my desk when I’m supposed to be working…
I have two and I found them both the same way. When I write I have the thesaurus from Answers.com open. I like to stumble around words – not to find a replacement – but to make them come alive by word association. And that’s how I found snizzle – a drizzle of snow and screak – the sound a bat makes. I love words that make a noise.
Favourite book store?
The Children’s Bookstore at Beecroft, NSW. I just wish I lived closer! It’s a magical place to browse with some terrific illustrator artwork on display. Their expert staff are a huge help selecting books. Absolutely essential if a younger reader is reluctant or has a reading level which doesn’t match their age. If you don’t get the right book, these kids don’t read. They give up right there and then. As a parent, I value how Ruth at The Children’s Bookstore always knows a title my youngest son will be keen to read.
Character you wish you had created?
Despereaux, the mouse in Kate Di Camillo’s The Tale of Despereaux. I hear the movie wasn’t very good but that shouldn’t be allowed to reflect on the character. He’s brilliant! A needle-waving, rat-braving, princess-saving hero! Works for me.
Bonus Question: I am adding some new contestants in the age old YA question - zombies, unicorns, cockroaches or dragons?
I guess I should cheerlead for the team and choose cockroaches - my Samurai kids belong to the Cockroach Ryu. But I’m a dragon person. Unicorns seem a little airy-fairy and zombies scare me. I remember skipping class to finish the latest in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern series.
Sandy Fussell's novel was reviewed on my site last month and you can read it here. Sandy has also just started a great blog of her own, reviewing children and YA titles.