Queensland Writers Week Drive-by #3: Christine Bongers

Christine Bongers has worked as a broadcast journalist on the ABC, and in commercial television and radio, in Brisbane and London. She has also written and directed two environmental television documentaries, and run her own media consultancy.

Christine’s first attempt at writing fiction was short-listed for the Varuna Manuscript Development Awards in 2006. She completed a Master of Arts (Research) in youth writing in 2008.

Her debut novel Dust, published by Random House Australia under its Woolshed Press Imprint, was a CBCA Notable Book for 2010 and was Highly Commended in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for Children’s Fiction.

Henry Hoey Hobson, her second novel, was launched by CBCA National President Marj Kirkland in July 2010 and was shortlisted for the 2011 CBCA Book of the Year for Younger Readers, the WA Premier’s Book Awards and the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. She is currently working on an adult crime novel, The Lonely Dead and a YA novel, Intruder.

1. The first book I ever read that made me think “I want to do that!” was …
Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books and Mary Grant Bruce’s Billabong series. I gobbled them up as a kid and used to dream of writing my own Lagoona series featuring the dangerous, exhilarating and often illegal escapades that were the stuff of life when you grew up as I did, with six brothers, in the bush. I think the landscape of our youth calls to us as writers and I did eventually return there for my first novel Dust. Mind you, it has been described as more ‘Thea Astley from a child’s perspective’ than Mary Grant Bruce… 

2. If I wasn’t a writer I would …
… be the person who put the cranky in pants. Writing is like coffee, a sublime addiction.

3. Worst fiction idea you’ve ever had?
I’m not sure I should be admitting to this, but a by-product of growing up with six brothers is an enduring fascination with all things scatological. I have an amazing collection of stool stories, painstakingly gathered from all corners of the earth over many decades. Classic contributions from the spinach and beetroot harvests in Holland, mysterious disappearances from London building sites, and the simply unforgettable lesson in sampling techniques provided by a first year medical technology student and his glad-wrap-covered lunchbox. I usually don’t divulge these stories unless driven to by wine, but once inebriated, I have been known to wax lyrical about my plans for a book. Imagine my chagrin then, when I discovered this.

So maybe it wasn’t the worst idea after all…

4. You get to go anywhere and anywhen: discuss.
Aaagh, that question is like an own-choice essay in high school. Too many choices, too little time.  Though I wouldn’t mind a writing sabbatical with the Bronte sisters in nineteenth centuryYorkshire. No internet. Crap weather. I could finally finish the w-i-p.

5. Donuts or danishes?
My mum’s side of the family is Danish. She had seven children, is 81, and still has the figure of a girl. You want to look like Homer or my mum? I say, go the Danish.

She lives here. 

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