Authors Answer Five Facetious Questions: A Mixed Tape

by |March 11, 2010

Last night I asked: Are the Five Facetious Questions Too Silly to be Asked or Answered?

Answer: A resounding – No!

So without further ado let me present a compilation of best responses from the brave authors who dared answer…

Five Facetious Questions:

1. Every writer spends at least one afternoon going from bookshop to bookshop making sure his or her latest book is facing out and neatly arranged. How far have you gone to draw attention to your own books in a shop?

Claire Halliday: I have tried any number of things – subtly picking up a copy of my own book as if to browse over a latte in the adjoining café and then casually leaving it there, face-up, on a table – but the knowledge that my money for the Gloria Jean’s coffee was funding some fundamentalist cult was not worth the potential royalty.

Kim Falconer: I dated the manager of a bookstore once…it didn’t work out but I did get a lovely display

2. So you’re a published author, almost a minor celebrity and for some reason you’ve been let into a party full of ‘A-listers’ – what do you do?

Claire Halliday: I always enjoy the food, it is an excuse to buy a new outfit but I make a point of not drinking alcohol as it tends to make me speak my mind. I blamed the too many champagnes for that ugly Eddie McGuire situation at an A-list birthday a few years ago – another time I was truly grateful for my obscurity. As it happened, he would not have known who I was. Phew. What I get from royalties would have not come close to covering the lawsuit.

Kylie Ladd: Scan the crowd to see if George Clooney is there, and if so get drunk and flirt outrageously with him (or at least his minders). Failing that, sidle up to Nick Earls, tell him we share an agent, and that he should thus follow me on Twitter.

3. Some write because they feel compelled to, some are Artists and do it for the Muse, some do it for the cash (one buck twenty a book) and some do it because they think it makes them more attractive to the opposite sex – why do you do write? (NB: don’t say -‘cause I can’t sing, tap or paint!)

Nick Earls: It certainly beats having a job.

Kylie Ladd: Because it makes my pyjamas tax-deductible.

4. Have you ever come to the end of writing a particularly fine paragraph, paused momentarily, chuffed with your own genius, only to find you’ve been sitting at the computer nude or with your dress half-way over your head or shaving cream on your face or toilet paper sticking out the back of your undies or paused to find that you’re singing We are the Champions at the top of your voice, having exchanged the words ‘we are’ for ‘I am’ and dropping an ‘s’?

No? Well, what’s your most embarrassing writing moment?

Nick Earls: I was so distracted once – I’d like to say focused – early on a book tour that I made a smoothie at lunchtime, took the lid off to check it, saw some unblended banana and cranked the blender up again. While still looking into it. Face full of smoothie. But it got worse. I had a break of 2 hrs before the next interview, so I went to the bank and the post office and bought some food, then came back and walked past a mirror. I had some chunks of banana in my hair, sitting in a slick of smoothie. It looked as if a massive seagull had just dumped on my head.

Claire Halliday: Just the other night I was blogging when my youngest cried out for me from her cot. I had her on my lap, jiggling her up and down for distraction with one knee while typing one-handed and she projectile vomited up an entire bottle of milk into the keyboard of my lovely Mac.

Kim Falconer: Most embarrassing writing moment would be looking up from the computer to note the time — 5:55 PM. Remember a ‘first date’ due at 6:00 PM. Panic. Eyes go to the open door to see ‘First Date’ walking up the path. Demons! Eyes then go down to see I am indeed in nickers with a tooth brush hanging out of my mouth like a cigarette. Hair dripping. ‘You’re early,’ I said. He said, ‘I don’t mind . . .’

Kylie Ladd: There was the ABC radio interview for my book Naked: Confessions of Adultery and Infidelity, where the presenter announced me as “That slutty strumpet, Kylie Ladd”, while my children listened in the booth next door with their dad. Ah, the glamour of media coverage.

5. Rodin placed his thinker on the loo – where and/or when do you seem to get your best ideas?

Kylie Ladd: Eavesdropping on others. It’s a perk of the job. (BBGuru: Kylie’s also a psychologist)

Claire Halliday: The car is my happy place and I can think. Just for me.

Nick Earls: Really? I have some ideas that’d rate as best ideas? Great.

You’re all awesome!

Thank you for playing!

(For everyone’s full answers see the comments section of yesterday’s post.)

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

Follow John: Twitter Website


  • March 11, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I wanted to answer those questions but was unable to get to them. I just wanted to say that my answer was also no that they were not to silly to be Asked or Answer.

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