OZ LIT PROFILE #9 – Pamela Rushby

Pamela Rushby is the author of over 100 books for children, published in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Malaysia. But to stop there is to sell Pamela way short of the mark. She’s also a scriptwriter, documentary producer, advertising copywriter, interactive muli-media maker and more… Visit her website to see just how talented she is. But this evening I’m focusing on Pamela Rushby, author of the recently released When the Hip Chicks Went to War, a thought-provoking and uniquely Australian young adult prespective on the Vietnam War. It’s a book that entertains, challenges and sh… don’t tell anyone, even taught me something.

Hipchicks has its own website where you can win a $500 flight voucher (closes June 2009, Australian residents only)

1 The last children’s/YA book you read (fiction or non-fiction)If I Stay” a young adult novel by Gayle Forman, published by Doubleday. Very interesting, original idea, of a girl who’s been in a road accident and is in a coma. Will she choose to go – or stay? Really kept me turning the pages.

2 If it wasn’t an Oz title, then the last Oz title “Dinosaur Knights” by Michael Gerard Bauer. Time-slip, adventure, fantasy, sci-fi story that also sucked me totally into the action. Could dragons have been misplaced dinosaurs? Great idea!

3 Name one favourite book from your childhood I really loved “The Wind in the Willows”. When I was a kid the Big Author was Enid Blyton (that dates me!) and of course I devoured the Famous Five, Faraway Tree etc. But I found “The Wind in the Willows” in a bookcase at my grandparent’s house, and it was something so different. I just loved it. It was a totally other-world, and the writing was of such quality (sorry, Enid).

4 Name one picture book that you love for the illustrations There was a series called the Church Mouse books, by Graham Oakley, about the adventures of mice who lived in an old English church, and the church cat. The illustrations are realistic and highly detailed, and the artist clearly visited a lot of churches for his research. I love travelling in England and visiting old churches, so these books bring back a lot of memories.

5 What is your personal favourite among the books you have authored/illustrated It’d have to be “When the Hipchicks Went to War”, because I so much enjoyed doing the research. I spent two weeks in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, thanks to a May Gibbs fellowship. What a treat! And I also visited Vietnam. But then again, my favourite is usually the book I’m working on at the time. Currently I’m writing a non-fiction book about ancient Egypt, and I’m really liking that too, because ancient history is my Thing, and I’ve been to Egypt several times.

6 What book do you wish you had written – for love or money For love, Dodie Smith’s “I Capture the Castle”. A truly magic book. For money – well, wouldn’t we all like to have been the author of Harry Potter?

7 If you could be a character in a book, who (or what) would you be Not very original, I know – but Elizabeth Bennet. What a girl! Witty, sensible, charming, vivacious, spirited, articulate – oh, all right, a bit inclined to prejudice, but you can’t have everything. And she gets the guy! What more could you want?

8 Do you have a favourite quote – from a book or life in general! Anything. Years ago I went to a seminar given by a female film producer (Glenys Rowe, I think) and came away with this advice. YOU DON’T GET WHAT YOU DON’T ASK FOR. For career advice, it’s worked for me. Certainly, sometimes you don’t get what you ask for – but you sure don’t get it if you don’t ask.

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