Lian Tanner is the author of the first book I reviewed, The Museum of Thieves, and many more. She is a Tasmanian, like me and I asked her if she would contribute to an article on my blog. She has kindly agreed to answer the following questions for aspiring authors.
1. Do you have a favourite book out of the ones you have written?
“Right now my favourite is Ella and the Ocean, my first picture book, which has just been published. I wrote the text and Jonathan Bentley did the illustrations, and we both love it to bits! But my favourite keeps changing. It’s often the one I’ve just finished, because I’m still tucked into that world.”
2. How do you keep the story and ideas flowing?
“Interesting question! I think it’s mostly to do with doing enough preparation before I start writing a story, so that I know a lot about the characters and how they will react in different circumstances. Plus trying out a whole lot of different ideas and seeing which ones work best. After a while, you start to get a sense of what is a good idea that will lead somewhere, and what is just a dead end.”
3. What inspired you to become an author?
“My love of reading. Books have always been my favourite thing in the world, and I started writing my own stories, plays and poems when I was in grade 3. For me, writing is like reading, only better, because you get to immerse yourself in the world of the book for months at a time.”
4. Why did you decide to write children’s fantasy?
“I started out writing a whole lot of different stuff – freelance journalism, short stories for children and adults, radio plays, stage plays, novels for adults. The children’s stories were more fun than the others, and I also had a reasonable amount of success with them, so I kept going, and one of them more or less accidentally turned into a novel. Once that was published, I turned to fantasy, because that’s what I love reading and that’s the direction my imagination seems to veer towards.”
5. Who was your favourite author as a child?
“Pretty much anyone who wrote about horses – I was obsessed with them. But I loved animal stories generally, and particularly Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Also CS Lewis’s Narnia books, which I adored.”
6. When did you published your first novel?
“My first novel was Rats!, which came out in 2004. I wanted to see if I could get published, so this was what I call my practice novel. After that I spent a couple of years on a book that I just couldn’t get to work (though trying to make it work taught me a lot about writing), then I wrote Museum of Thieves, which was the one I really wanted to write.”
7. When writing do you have the plot planned out beforehand?
“Definitely! I’ve tried a couple of times to write a book without plotting it first, and it works fine for the first few chapters, but then I get stuck and start panicking. So although I don’t always stick to my plot, I really like to have one. It’s a kind of safety net – as long as I’ve got a plot, I know there’s a good, solid story there, and I can write it without worrying so much.”
A big thank you to Lian Tanner for agreeing to answer these questions. If you want to find out more about her click the link below. Click here to visit Lian Tanner’s website