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Anita Ganeri - questions and answers

Horrible Geography by Anita Ganeri
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1. When did you first become interested in the wonderful world of geography?

I've always been interested in travelling and going on holiday (which is just as much geography as boring graphs and maps). And I love wild places and wild animals. But I really got interested about six years ago when I was asked to write the Horrible Geography books.


Horrible Geography by Anita Ganeri2. Have you travelled to see lots of violent volcanoes, perishing poles and raging rivers?

Yes, I have. I've been up volcanoes in Italy and Iceland ; seen glaciers in Iceland and Norway ; deserts in Africa and India ; freaky peaks in India and Spain ; and raging rivers all over the world.


3. Have you ever experienced an earthquake or seen a tornado?

When I visited Iceland , I experienced an earthquake. It was the weirdest feeling in the world. The ground suddenly started shaking and it was difficult to stay standing upright. But there was nothing you could do. It only lasted for a few seconds but it was really, really scary. Luckily, I'd just written Earth-shattering Earthquakes, which has an 'earthquake survival guide' in it. Unfortunately, I was so scared that I couldn't remember any of it.


4. In one of your books, you ask: "Is your geography teacher an alien from outer space?" What we'd like to know is, did you think your geography teacher was an alien?!

My geography teacher was lovely. She used to set us a geography quiz at the end of each term and the prize was...chocolate. I saw her again recently after many years and she said she loved the books but she didn't want people to get the wrong idea and think that geography really was horrible!


Horrible Geography by Anita Ganeri5. Where and when do you write?

I have a room in my house, which is set aside as an office. It's full of books, my computer, the odd dog and bits and pieces I've collected from my travels. I try to get to my desk by 9.30 am and finish at 5.30 pm (in time for Neighbours).


6. How long does it take you to write a book?

A Horrible Geography book takes a long time to research, write and worry about. It probably takes about three or four months from beginning to end. But I also write some much shorter, simpler books and they can take about two weeks each.


Horrible Geography by Anita Ganeri7. Where do you get your inspiration from when you're writing a book?

Well, geography is about the world around you so I spend a lot of time staring out of my window! In between staring, I get information from books, TV programmes, magazines and the internet. I am also a member of the Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers ) in London. It's where all the great geographical expeditions of the past set out from. They have a fantastic library and lots of things belonging to explorers like Captain Scott (included stuffed penguins) and David Livingstone (including his diary, boots etc). The trouble is, fining out about deserts or poles etc is so fascinating, I tend to get carried away and do far more research than I can cram into the book.


8. What was your favourite book when you were a child?

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein, and anything by Enid Blyton. Later it was the Lord of the Rings.


9. And finally, can you tell us what we can expect to read about in future Horrible Geography books?

I've just finished a book about Monster Lakes and am busy working on a Horrible Geography atlas (without boring maps). Future titles include Cracking Coasts , a book about Britain and more about volcanoes and earthquakes.
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Anita Ganeri

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