This is a little Q & A I did with Lisa from Tint Journal, the first online literary journal with an explicit focus on writers who produce creative texts in English as their second or non-native language. It was fun to do, thus I thought I share it here with you
What was your favorite book as a child?
From a very young age onwards I’ve been an avid reader. But if I have to choose one book I probably pick “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” by Joan Aiken. And everything by Astrid Lindgren, especially “Lotta on Troublemaker Street”, “Pippi Longstocking goes abroad” and “The Brothers Lionheart”.
Do you remember the original reason or motivation why you started writing creatively?
I don’t think there was a particular reason for me to start writing creatively. Since I was a little girl I’ve always made up stories to entertain myself and others. I grew up in a small, secluded village surrounded by woods, and making up stories and entering new worlds was my way of going places. In primary school I always carried small exercise books where I collected my stories alongside some drawings. Until high-school I only wrote in German, but once I learned English I fell in love with the language and started writing short stories and poems in English. I’ve been writing in both German and English ever since. Many years later I fell in love with creative nonfiction writing during my master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Sydney. I took creative writing classes and my teachers Erin O’Dwyer and Michael Rose (a big shout-out to them!) encouraged me to turn away from fiction towards nonfiction. Fun fact: I hated memoir writing in the beginning, probably because it was completely new territory for me and I felt very insecure. But once I delved into this genre, it felt like coming home.
What was the most adventurous or thrilling thing you ever did/experienced?
The most thrilling thing I’ve ever done was go backpacking around Australia for 12 months. Fresh out of high-school, I was working on farms, waitressing in cafes and restaurants, gardening, and babysitting. The best part of this travelling adventure was sleeping under the stars in the Outback, bottle-feeding a little joey, a baby kangaroo, and even taking care of an alligator called Angelo. I met so many incredible people who pursued alternative ways of living and learned so many valuable life lessons. This time in Australia during my formative years was — and probably will ever be — my biggest „school of life.“ Another thrilling thing I experienced was working as a volunteer in Cambodia, exploring a new country and culture and being faced with the challenges of a third world country. One time I was staying in a fisherman’s hut in the Ream National Park and at dawn I swam with dolphins. I’ve never experienced anything that comes even close to the peace and calmness I felt that moment spent in the water with these beautiful creatures.
Do you listen to music while reading or writing?
Most of the time I don’t listen to music when I read or write. Especially when reading, I’ve noticed that my mind starts to wander elsewhere when I have something else going on in the background. But sometimes I like to write on a bench in the park or in a cosy corner of a cafe — the smell of fresh-cut grass and the sound of leaves moving in the wind, the chitchat of strangers, the faint music — it helps me to feel less alone and drowns out the inner critic when I am in doubt and stuck in my writing.
– Q & A, published in Tint Journal