Mem Fox – Interview with CKT

Mem Fox

Q. What inspired you to write for children?

I was set an assignment at university, in a children’s literature course, to write a children’s book. I wrote an early draft of what eventually became Possum Magic,  and I lived happily ever after.

Q. What tips would you give to an aspiring children’s author?

Read my website! ( There are about 40 pages of hints which I wish I could have read 30 years ago when a I was starting out. I made many mistakes back then and don’t see why people should still be making the same mistakes today which is why the website was set up in the first place.

Q. Where is your favourite place to write?

At my computer in my crazy, tiny, very colourful office.

Q. Do you begin your stories on the computer or do you use a pen and paper?

I start with pen and paper because I am fairly old now and my brain prefers to get going when I have a pencil in my hand and I’m scribbling across a yellow notepad.

Q. How long do you live with a character in your head before you bring it to life on paper?

I don’t really have characters as such as most of my books are now for the very young; but in longer books the characters only evolve when I am actually writing the story. I don’t ‘think them up’: they emerge as the story progresses and the drafts mount up.

Q. Do your characters wake you up at night with ideas?

No, and I would be very unhappy if they did wake me up. I ADORE being asleep!

Q. If you could be any character from any book for a day who would you be and why?

I would be Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird  because her father was very like mine and I had a wonderful childhood even though I lived in a very racist country in Africa.

Q. And finally apart from spending time with your beautifulgrandson, Theo, what’s next in store from Mem Fox?

Sleep and more sleep, I sincerely hope. I have at least five more books in the pipeline and have just written another. Theo is proving to be an inspiration, as I thought he would be. So it looks as if I will be writing until I die. I think my next book is called Two Little Monkeys,  due out mid-2012.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak into Mem’s world.

I encourage you to visit Mem’s website and find out for yourselves what a wonderful ambassador she is for Australian children’s literature.


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