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Frances Hardinge

answers the Usual Questions

photo, Frances Hardinge, courtesy of the author; x

Frances Hardinge

When she was six, Frances Hardinge wrote a short story that included an attempted poisoning, a faked death and a villain being thrown off a cliff -- all in just one page! Later she read English at Oxford University amid medieval towers and gargoyle-strung chapels.

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

It probably hasn't affected the content of my books, but it has certainly improved my morale, and my confidence when sitting down at my computer. I think I am still writing for a younger version of myself, rather than specific people out there in the real world.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

My website has a contact form, and so I receive quite a few messages from my younger readers. If they tell me that a book of mine has meant something special to them, or made them want to write, then it makes my day - I suddenly feel as though I have justified my existence. I do have a favourite amongst these messages, but I don't intend to repeat the details!

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

I can't pick a single favourite author. I have a marauding band of favourite authors, many of them wildly different from each other - Lewis Carroll, Wilkie Collins, Susan Cooper, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Charlotte Bronte, Alan Garner, E M Forster, Raymond Chandler, and many others. I can't really pick a favourite book either, though if the world was drowning I might be swimming with one hand holding Alice in Wonderland above water.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

Mary Kingsley the Victorian explorer. If we were stuck in a lift, she could regale me with stories of her travels in Africa, and she might have enough practical good sense to get us out of there. If we were on a spaceship discovering new worlds, it might be useful to have a completely fearless explorer on my side.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Torquemada. I'm a great believer in tolerance, but have trouble tolerating intolerance.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

book cover, Cuckoo Song, by Frances Hardinge; 140x216

My hat. It might get a little squashed under my spacesuit helmet, but I'd have to cope.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

I would wish to entertain and transport. (If I could also help readers see the world in a slightly more magical and bizarre way, that would be a bonus.)

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

People actually pay me to craft dreams and then release them into the wild.

submitted by Frances Hardinge

9 October 2014

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: Brighton.
Resides: London.
Fly by Night (2005)
Verdigris Deep/Well Witched (2007)
Gullstruck Island/The Lost Conspiracy (2009)
Twilight Robbery/Fly Trap (2011)
A Face Like Glass (2012)
Cuckoo Song (2014)
Link to my awards, shortlistings, etc.

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