12 Curly Questions with author Maryam Master

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I have a serious phobia of cats! I get heart palpitations whenever I see one. I cross the road to avoid them. And I’m especially scared of those hairless ones with the saggy, wrinkly skin. Terrifying!

2. What is your nickname?

3. What is your greatest fear?
Besides cats? Losing my kids in a big crowd. They’re older now so I don’t worry as much but when they were little, I’d cling to them like glue when we were out and about.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
A mix between the serious and the ridiculous, tragic and comic, complex and simple. (Sorry, that was 14 words. More if you count these!)

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Dreamer, disciplined, dynamic, deadline driven. (Clearly having a D-Day)

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Roald Dahl’s Matilda. She’s whip smart, kind and creative but, best of all, she teaches herself telekinesis and uses these new-found powers to mess with the wicked people in her life who deserve it.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
2222 – to see if we still have a planet to live on. Also, because I like 2s.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
You did it! You learnt the English language. With all its weird sounds and nonsensical grammar. You even made a career out of words. How wild!

9. Who is your greatest influence?
Not sure if I’ve actually been influenced by these people but they certainly inspire and bring me joy – Larry David, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Roald Dahl, Anne Frank, Rosa Parks, Margaret Atwood.

10. What/who made you start writing?
My Year 10 English teacher – Mr O’Conner. He was so encouraging and kind. Made me believe in the impossible.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Cake. It’s the same word in Farsi (my first language) as well. Where there is cake, there is joy. A delicious word that always puts a smile on my face.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That is a tough question! I’m gonna go with RJ Palacio’s Wonder. It’s a beautiful read that makes you laugh, cry and contemplate all the big, important questions about what it means to be a good human. I never tire of it.

Maryam Master was born in Iran and moved to Australia when she was 9. She is a screenwriter and playwright who loves creating shows for young audiences. Maryam has adapted three of David Walliams' books for the stage - Mr Stink, Billionaire Boy and The Midnight Gang - as well as Oliver Jeffers' The Incredible Book Eating Boy, all of which premiered at the Sydney Opera House and toured across Australia. She also collaborated with Australian Children's Laureate Leigh Hobbs on Horrible Harriet: Live on Stage. She began her career in TV, writing for shows like Home and Away, Blinky Bill and the Jim Henson Company's Bambaloo. In 2011 she was selected by Sesame Workshop as the writer for Elmo's tour of Australia. Maryam is the author of Exit Through the Gift Shop. No Words is her second novel.