Q. Tell us five words that best describe you?
Dogged. Sceptical. Nervous. Sleepy. Affectionate.
Q. What prompted you to sit down and write your first story?
I learned to write in Year One and the first story I wrote was about a family of penguins who lived on an iceberg and floated around the world. It just came out of the pen unbidden onto the page … For me my best stories have no reason for writing at all, they just hide inside your mind and then arrive suddenly.
Q. What’s the best thing about being a writer?
I feel most myself when I am writing, so that is the best thing. I suspect most writers are the same, although it’s hard to say exactly what it means!
Q. Are you a plotter or a panster?
(Plotter =Plotting out your manuscript before you write it. / Panster = Putting pen to paper and plotting as you go along)
Well probably a mixture. The heart of the story is not plotted, it just comes out. But then once it’s out, I have to work it into a form. That can be very painstaking and doesn’t come naturally to me.
Q. What is a typical writing day for you?
I used to be able to answer this question with confidence! – send the children to school etc and then write for a couple of hours in the morning. But now my children have grown up I have lost this helpful structure. I still try to write in the mornings but I am not so good at it … Very rarely would I write for more than an hour or two, in any case.
Q. Tell us a little about your publishing experience?
The first book published was a picture book. A friend, an illustrator named Roberta Landers, suggested I write a story for children and she would illustrate it. So I lay down in bed and wrote a story about a little girl and her giant guinea pig – “Maisie and the Pinny Gig”. We sent it out, illos and all, to six different publishers at once, and one of them (Macmillan) said yes. (The rest said no). Very exciting day. After that I wrote novels for many years, but once you have ONE thing published I think it helped my confidence a lot about sending things off in the post to publishers. I don’t have an agent.
Q. What do you do when your characters want to take the story in a different direction from where you were headed?
Oh, I let them take me. Unless they are heading somewhere too horrible, then I pull them back. A bit like when you wake up from a nightmare.
Q. What’s next from Ursula Dubosarsky?
I’m working on a novel called “The Blue Cat”. Later this year I’m spending six months in Paris courtesy of a fellowship arrangement from the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, and that is where I’m hoping it will all come together. (!!)
Ursula’s website: ursuladubosarsky.squarespace.com