The Bell talks to Julie Hunt
The Bell: What is your favorite genre?
Julie Hunt: I don’t have a favourite genre. If the writing is fresh and original and the story grabs me it doesn’t matter what genre the book falls into.
The Bell: Who was your favorite author when you were little?
Julie Hunt: When I was little I read comics more than books. I also read magazines – June and School Friend, Hoofs and Horns and for some reason I liked a farm newspaper called the Weekly Times. When I grew up I discovered the authors Leon Garfield and Russell Hoban who remain favourites.
The Bell: What was your first book that you wrote?
Julie Hunt: The Woman Who Knitted the World. This was a homemade book. A friend did the pictures and we paid to have it printed.
The Bell: How long have you been writing for?
Julie Hunt: Since I was about eight.
The Bell: Did you always want to be a writer?
Julie Hunt: No. I wanted to be a pilot, a vet, a jockey, a ballet dancer, a musician and an actor. I never decided to be a writer. It just slowly happened.
The Bell: Do you have a main inspiration?
Julie Hunt: Good question. I think each story is inspired by different things. The Coat was partly inspired by music and my next book, KidGlovz, is also a bit musical. Song for a Scarlet Runner started with the words ‘marsh auntie’ and I don’t know where they came from. Other sources of inspiration include places (countries, landscapes, buildings), things people say, poems, folk stories, articles in the newspaper and names of characters.
The Bell: What was your favorite book to write?
Julie Hunt: I loved writing the Little Else series. Those stories were my first attempt at writing something longer than a picture book and it was thrilling to find that I could do it. Little Else is such a bold and gutsy girl. It was easy to write her adventures.
The Bell: What was your favorite book to read?
Julie Hunt: Do you mean out of the books I have written? I like reading The Coat because it continues to surprise me. I like reading Song for a Scarlet Runner because of the wonderful language Siltboy uses. I’m going to enjoy reading KidGlovz because of the beautiful pictures that the artist Dale Newman is working on right now. Here’s one of them.
The Bell: What would be your tips for young writers?
Julie Hunt: Read, read, read, read, read. That’s the main thing. And get in the habit of writing every day. Make notes about the things you see and think about. When you love a book so much that you want to read it again, try and work out the things you liked about it and keep them in mind when you are writing your own stories.