Odo Hirsch was born and grew up in Melbourne where he trained to be a doctor. He now lives in London and writes excellent books that are published not only in Australia but also in the US, UK, Netherlands, Korea, Germany and Italy.
Why I write
'I love it. For me, writing is great fun. I get to make up a world and I get to look at that world with freshness and curiosity. I've always loved using language, shaping ideas and images with words. It gives me great satisfaction when I think I've produced something really good.
'But in turning that story into a book, there's also a lot of hard work - a lot of redrafting and re-editing. So it's not all fun. I like to think of my books as opening doors in the reader's imagination. If each one of my readers, just once during one of my books, puts the book down, stares into space, and wonders "What if…" or "Why…" then I think I've done something worthwhile. After all, the great thing about reading is that it allows you into the mind of someone else, while at the same time allowing your own imagination to wander and grow. I hope my books contribute to this tradition.'
Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It's a kind of satire of the conventions of modern society, of Carroll's society as it was then. The concept is absolutely brilliant, revolutionary at the time and still the foundation of a lot of good children's writing in the sense of challenging conventions.
'I'm inspired by all kinds of things, especially history and people I meet.'
Advice to would-be writers
'Write about what you feel and what excites you.'
Most memorable experience
'I wrote chapter five of Bartlett and the City of Flames on a flight from London to New York. As the plane took off I had this great idea for a character, Sol. He still makes me laugh when I think about him. I laughed when I was writing it as well. I don't know what all the business people around me imagined. Probably thought I'd found some hilarious mistakes in a spreadsheet.'