1. Who was your first crush?
Hutch, the blond one from the TV show, Starsky and Hutch. I was almost debilitatingly obsessed. Is there anything more overwhelming than those adolescent crushes?
2. Describe the first place you lived when you moved out of home?
It was a flat above an upholstery shop, which ran the full length of the shop as well as the flat behind it. It was massive, older style, with high patterned ceilings, deep skirting boards and leadlight windows. It was perfect, except for the constant rapid fire of the stapling guns from below.
3. What was your first embarrassing memory?
Actually, this wasn’t embarrassing for me, because I don’t remember it, but it must have been excruciating for my grandparents. They took me to St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney when I was about 2. This was when men wore hats, (Yes, I’m that old, but I was only 2!) which they had to remove when inside, especially in church.
Apparently I was toddling along the pew in front of where my grandparents were kneeling praying, when my grandmother tuned into what I was chanting – ‘Potty, potty’. She opened her eyes, and sure enough, I was using a gentleman’s upturned hat as a toilet. What did my grandparents do in this vexing situation? What do you think? They picked me up and hot-footed it out of there as fast as they could, without warning the owner of the hat. I’ve often wondered if he realised before he picked it up and placed it back on his head. Eeew!
4. When was the first time you told someone you loved them?
You mean apart from someone I was related to? Probably around age 14. It was Hutch, obviously, but I didn’t get any response. I guess he was the strong silent type.
5. Describe your first kiss.
Like being smeared across the lips with a wet sponge. Seriously, it was a huge disappointment. Lucky the kissers and the kisses improved or I might have had to become a nun.
7. When did you first get drunk?
My mother might be reading this, so I’m not going to say when, but I will say it probably involved Passion Pop ($1.99 Spumante).
8. What was the first book that really affected you?
Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner. It was the first time I remember crying – more like sobbing – reading a book. I still remember it so vividly, I was completely shattered. I’ve never been able to go back and read it again.
9. What was the first thing you bought with your first paycheque?
It must have been something very frivolous and forgettable – I was only 13 when I first started working, sweeping up hair at the local hairdressers on a Saturday morning (I did eventually graduate to shampooing).
With my first real, full-time paycheque I was already married, so I would have paid the rent and bought groceries, quite the opposite of frivolous.
10. Who was your first friend?
When I started kindergarten, there was another girl in my class named Diane (with only one ‘n’). We went right through primary school, high school, and even uni together, and she was the person who motivated me to start writing seriously.
We remain close to this day. She lives in another state, but it’s rare for a week to pass without some contact, usually in the form of long, rambling emails to each other.
Dianne Blacklock has been a teacher, trainer, counsellor, check-out chick, and even one of those annoying market researchers you avoid in shopping centres. Nowadays she tries not to annoy anyone by staying home and writing.