LIAN TANNER

Ten things about me

1. I was born in Tasmania and have lived here nearly all my life. If you cut me open, you would find ‘Tasmania’ written on my bones and in my heart.

2. I have three older brothers and no sisters.

3. I was a very shy child, which is probably why I like writing about bold girls. I loved books and horses, and I was so bad at netball that no one ever wanted me in their team.

4. When I was in Grade 6, I learned all 21 verses of Banjo Paterson’s poem ‘Rio Grande’s Last Race’ for a school concert, then lost my voice halfway through the fourth verse. I think it was nerves.

5. I studied Earth Sciences at university, because I liked the stories of the enormous glaciers and volcanoes that changed the shape of the world. But the practical side of things was my downfall. I was hopeless at identifying the different rocks and minerals, and one of my Geology lecturers said it was a great relief to everyone when I dropped that subject halfway through my degree.

6. Right up until I was 38, I didn’t think I was very creative. Then I went to drama school and learned how to find the amazing ideas that were lurking inside me.

7. After drama school, I worked as a professional actor for three years, touring plays around Tasmanian schools. Amongst other roles, I played a nun, a dog, and a convict who was about to hang for her crimes. This was good background for a writer, as it taught me all about dialogue and action. (And being a dog.)

8. I like gardening, and have a very handsome tomcat called Harry-le-beau, who tries to help by digging up the beans and broccoli. Harry also has his own writing career – he hasn’t updated his blog in quite a while, but you can find it at http://vampiremice.wordpress.com/.

9. I get some of my best ideas while walking on the beach, which is just three houses away at the end of my street. It’s a very quiet street and a very quiet beach, with good swimming in summer. We often see dolphins in the bay and sometimes, if we are lucky, whales. When I’m stuck, and don’t know what to write, I go for a long walk, which almost always gets me unstuck again.

10. I recently worked out that I have read more than 10,000 books in my lifetime. All those books, and I still love reading!

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