Ten quick questions with picture book author Andrew Kelly

Wild Dog Books author and Yarra Riverkeeper Andrew Kelly has written and co-written many award-winning picture books for children. Andrew was born in and grew up in Melbourne and, apart from a few years in England, has spent his life in Melbourne. He is passionate about the city and its history, so it’s not surprising that his latest picture book, Little Lon, is a celebration of a unique place and time in Melbourne’s past.

Between writing and caring and advocating for the Yarra, Andrew is one very busy man, but we did manage to track him down to ask a few questions about his writing life.

1. What are you currently reading?

1835 by James Boyce. It tells the story of the first European settlement that became Melbourne and the efforts by the Wurundjeri to manage this invasion of their lands.

2. What is your favourite gadget?

Ipad for streaming

3. Do you prefer music or silence while you are writing and researching? 

Silence. Sometimes music, something country. Maybe Hard Times by Paul Kelly or I Saw the Light by Hank Williams

4. Where is your favourite place to read, think and ponder?

King Island. There is space to think there. There are waves rolling in and crashing on the shore. There are clouds scudding across the sky. (Only clouds seem to scud.) I feel creative there.

5. Which five people (dead or alive) would you like to share a meal with? 

Tim Flannery, Robert MacFarlane (The Olds Ways, among other books), Gerald Durrell (I love My Family and Other Animals – it should never have been made into TV), Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria (I am watching the TV series at the moment)

6. What was your favourite topic at school?

History – for the stories.

7. Do you prefer to read a book or device?

Audio mainly, and then both print and digital. I get something different from each medium.

8. What is something not many people know about you?

I was once a publisher.

9. What is your biggest time waster?

Lack of faith. The struggle to come up with the right structure. I think it will never happen – until it does.

10. If you were a bird, what breed would you be?

Wedge-tail eagle. Great views.

11. Bonus question – what is your tip for would-be writers?

Write and write and write, while experimenting and playing with words.