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Up Close & Personal: An Interview with N.T. Finn

What started you writing?

I started writing when I was a teenager. I always read a lot, and I felt it was a bit selfish to read and read and not throw anything back into the pot! Reading has always been my greatest, most selfish pleasure!

What was the first book you remember falling in love with?

Definitely "Five on a Treasure Island" by Enid Blyton. It is the first of the Famous Five series and I think I've read them all 4,000 times!

What are you reading now?

Now I'm reading "Caleb's Crossing" by Geraldine Brooks. I especially love books based on historical facts.

Which writers do you feel have influenced you the most?

Enid Blyton, W. Somerset Maugham, Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling. All these authors were brilliant in very different ways. They each had the gift of telling you a really interesting story - creating a whole new world for you to experience - without upsetting, shocking or offending their readers, and they had great respect for our beautiful English language.

What three words would you use to describe Zoltan & the 31st Century?

Futuristic, plausible and interesting!

What are you working on next?

I'm currently writing a story about a family who move to Melbourne.

Will David/Zoltan appear in another novel?


How would you encourage children to read - especially children who don't like to?

All children - people - love stories, whether they enjoy reading or not. Story telling, and hearing or reading stories, satisfies a mysterious element of the human condition. We are insatiably interested in each other, and use stories to check our own progress through life against what other people are doing. These days we have audio books so, if reading is difficult, we can hear stories read to us. I want to make Zoltan available as an audio book, too. For people who are vision impaired (like Helene in the story) or have dyslexia (like my daughter), this is a wonderful way to enjoy stories.

What book do you wish you had written and why?

I wish I had written "A History of the World" which was written by J.M. Roberts. Then I would be a really brainy person and have a great office at Oxford University! This is actually one of the best written, most interesting stories I have ever read - and it was all true! Truth truly is stranger than fiction.

If you could be any fictional character who would you be?

I think I would be Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series.

Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?

Well, I have a very short attention span, so I like to work in spurts. I guess I'm a spurt-worker. I get up early and make the lunches and breakfast (sometimes French toast or pancakes - my favourite!) and when everyone has gone off to school or uni (at least, that's where they say they are going!), I start by editing what I wrote yesterday. Then have a coffee-break, then write for another hour; then take our dog for a walk; then write some more; and so on, through the day. I find that unless I have some physical activity every couple of hours, my brain becomes sluggish and so does my writing, so I try to avoid sitting in front of the computer for longer than 90 minutes at a time. When a book is being printed, which is very exciting, I will talk to the printers and the artist and the web-designer regarding various elements of the book we are producing.

Other than writing, what are you good at?

I have been teaching myself how to cook sweet things, which I hadn't done much of previously, and I now bake a pretty good chocolate brownie, actually! I'm also a talented talker and excellent eater.



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