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Premier's Reading Challenge

10 June to 18 August 2014

5 minutes with... Lian Tanner

Lian Tanner

Lian Tanner is a best-selling children’s author whose fantasy trilogy, The Keepers, is published in Australia, the USA and India, as well as being translated into eight languages.

The first two books in the trilogy, Museum of Thieves and City of Lies, won consecutive Aurealis Awards for Best Australian Children’s Fantasy, and Museum of Thieves was named as a 'White Raven' (books that deserve worldwide attention) by the International Youth Library in Munich.

Lian’s new fantasy series, The Hidden, began with Ice Breaker in 2013. Ice Breaker has just been shortlisted for the Aurealis Award. The second book in the series, Sunker’s Deep, will be published in November 2014.

 Find Lian Tanner's books in your local LINC or Library

Visit Lian Tanner's website

Questions & Answers

What is your favourite thing about reading?

I love the way I can disappear into a book, forget about everything around me and go to amazing places with amazing people. I love the way reading can be exciting or comforting, depending on the book I choose. New books are thrilling, but old ones, that I've read several times, make me feel as if I'm sitting by the fire on a winter's evening, wrapped in a warm blanket.

What was the first book you read that you loved?

The first one I remember really well was  called 'The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes' by Du Bose Heyward. My parents gave it to me for my seventh birthday, and I loved it for years. It's the story of a little girl rabbit who wanted to be one of the Easter bunnies, and how everyone laughed at her because she was just a little country cottontail, but how she learned to be wise and kind and fast, and ended up as one of the best Easter bunnies of all!

What was your favourite subject at school?

Writing stories, which back then were called compositions. I loved that little flash of inspiration (which in those days usually had something to do with horses) and how I could build a whole story about it. I could have spent my entire school day writing stories and been completely happy!

How did you get into writing?

I have always written, ever since I was small. I used to write plays and take them to school and make my friends perform in them. I used to write poems and stories (most of them about horses). My great grandmother was a poet, and so was one of my aunts, and my mother was a writer, so I saw it as something that was worth doing. I kept writing bits and pieces all through my teens and twenties. Then, when I was in my thirties and working as an actor, I started writing short plays for the theatre company I worked for, and we performed some of them. That's when I realised that I wanted to take it more seriously, wanted to earn a living from it. I spent the next few years writing all sorts of different things - stories, journalism, radio plays - until I discovered that what I liked best was writing children's novels.

If you could be a character in a book, who would you be?

I would rather like to be Bonnie, Toadspit's little sister in the Keepers. Unlike me, Bonnie is astonishingly brave and always ready to throw herself into difficult situations to help her friends. She loves animals and hates people who are cruel to them. She is also a very good archer, which I'm sure would come in handy sometimes.

What is your favourite kid’s book? Would you like to review it for us?

I have quite a few favourite books, but there's one which I read over and over again. It's a fantasy called Power of Three, and it's by the English author Diana Wynne Jones. I love pretty much anything by Diana Wynne Jones, but this is my favourite. It’s the story of Gair, who feels like a failure. His brother and his sister can see into the future and find things that are lost. They have Gifts. But Gair is just ordinary - or so he thinks. It's not until his people are in great danger that Gair discovers his own Gift, and learns how to use it. 

This is a funny, sad, beautiful book with great characters. If you’ve never read a book by this author, GO AND FIND ONE IMMEDIATELY. She writes great young adult books too.

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