Get to know a little more about Andy through this Q&A with the much-loved kid’s writer.
What makes you happiest?
Having an entire day free to devote to writing. I generally like to write for three to four hours a day, but this is rarely achieved in one uninterrupted block. Ideas for me come in fits and starts and having lots of time available means that I can take lots of staring-out-the-window-at-nothing-in-particular breaks and still get my work done.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Although I now make a good living from writing, this wasn’t always the case. In the early days I lived on a $20-a-week budget. To buy a new CD meant trading in two or three of my old ones. So these days it still feels extravagant to me to go into a music store and buy two or three new CDs without having to trade any!
What is your most marked characteristic?
If you ask me, I would say my infinite patience and endless good humour. According to my daughters, however, it’s my tendency to get mad whenever somebody burns the toast and fills the house up with smoke or drops a full container of milk on the kitchen floor.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Like literally everyone else on the planet at the moment, I literally use the word ‘literally’ about a thousand times a day (well, not literally, but almost).
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Melbourne’s own Professor E W Cole. I was lucky enough to grow up with the wonderful Cole’s Funny Picture books, which he put together with the intention of encouraging children to become lifelong readers by helping them to associate books with pleasure. With the help of my illustrator, Terry Denton, I feel like I’m carrying on the work that Cole started back in 1879 with the publication of the first Cole’s Funny Picture Book.
What is your most treasured possession?
The 1920s Underwood typewriter I bought at a school fête for 40 cents when I was ten and which I learnt to touch type on and produced all my early stories on.
Who is your favourite hero/heroine of fiction?
Well, as an equal-opportunity employer of fictional characters, my favourite heroine is Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and my favourite hero is Holden Caulfield from you know very well what and if you don’t then it’s high time you did.
Who is your favourite hero/heroine in real life?
I would have to say my wife, Jill (and I mean that quite literally). Aside from being my wife, she’s also my editor. She has edited every book I’ve ever written and she’ll probably edit this as well so if I didn’t say her she would change it so I might as well say her and save her the trouble.
Visit andygriffiths.com.au for more information about the man himself. This interview originally appeared in SLV News, March 2014.
Have your favourite book signed by Andy at the Children’s Book Festival, on at the State Library and Wheeler Centre, Sunday 22 March, 10am–4pm. Absolutely free. Find out more and see the full program here.