What books did you read when you were a child?
As a young girl, I was lucky enough to have The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Knowledge. All 20 or so books were on a bookshelf behind my bed. Other kids would be outside playing, but I loved to read these encyclopedias instead. Then I read every fairy tale and Greek Myth I could.
If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
What a good question. I would either be one of the dancing princesses who is rowed over an underground lake on the way back from a secret dancing party. (I used this image in my novel!) Or, I might be a good witch with secret powers like in Sleeping Beauty.
What is the best thing about reading?
It changes me. Every time I read something I become it a little. Whether it’s a character, or a place or even part of the natural (or unnatural) world. This is what dreams are made of. The deep fantasies you gather through reading become you and you become them. All of which make living in the real world a bit more understandable because you have a lot of internal images to draw upon. This is different than TV or movies I think because more of your brain is engaged with reading since it is YOU who makes up the pictures.
What is your all-time favourite book?
The Hobbit and the Violet book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Playing with words. Making up stories, poems and everything else together. It is not hard AT ALL and in fact can be deceptively simple. The important thing is to learn together to construct language patterns.
How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
Actually, none at all. I fell into language play because I found it exciting because had a varied rich internal fantasy life. I was a self-starter.
How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
My kids are great. They read stories every night without fail to their children. And even when the story might be over their head, they are avid listeners and over time our 7 year old is “getting” the Hobbit.
Zaro Weil is and has been a lot of things; dancer, poet, novelist, theatre director, performer, teacher, publisher, historian and a few more as well.
She is currently working on a new book of poems for both children and their parents to be published in September 2016.
Read more author interviews here.