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20 questions with Zia Grace

As a child, which book impressed you most?

Horton Hatches the Egg, by Dr. Seuss. I just loved the integrity of that elephant - no matter what... he meant what he said and he said what he meant... an elephant's faithful one hundred percent! (yep, still love it!)

To which literary character do you most relate?

At the moment, Wonder Woman! I am a one-woman show - author, publisher, creative director, production manager, marketing and sales manager - not to mention a wife, sister, daughter and aunt!

Your publishing company is called The Freestove - where did you get that name from?

Aha, that's a funny story... make yourself a cuppa and relax!

After reading The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield in 1998, I became highly attuned to "coincidences". One night, while on a blind date (that's ANOTHER story!), I found a bright orange stove on the side of the road that had a sign saying 'FREE 1973 IN WORKING ORDER'. I had a profound sense it would mean something in my future, so I loaded it into the back of my Mazda Astina, much to the bemusement of my blind date (needless to say he never called me back).

I somehow believed that if I followed the "signs", it would lead me to my destiny. Years later, I spoke to an intuitive healer about the free stove and she said that it was ME!

Referring to my reproductive problems, she said I needed to free my stove - by that she explained, "When a woman is pregnant, people say they have a 'bun in the oven' and the colour orange is that of the reproductive chakra. The fact that the sign said "free" means you have to free your uterus" (I shuddered when she said it so bluntly).

That conversation stayed with me until I was traveling in Vietnam in 2006 and was tired of writing my contact details over and over again - so I decided to get 100 business cards at the bargain price of $1. Being thrifty, I thought to myself "I might as well design something for The Freestove" - even though I had no idea what The Freestove would manifest into. I also came up with the mantra — liberation, creation, transformation — as that is what The Freestove means to me.

How did you come up with your other mantra “have faith”?

Through retrospection I discovered that everything I experienced as being major disasters in my life actually turned out to be crucial turning points that has made me the person I am today - and I wouldn't trade that for all the tea in China (and I LOVE Chinese tea!).

Which classic have you tried reading, but you can't seem to finish?

Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres.

Which book are you reading at the moment?

Dietary Healing, the Complete Detox Program by Kathryn Alexander - she is the most brilliant woman I know.

Which work of non-fiction has most opened your eyes?

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay - It introduced ideas that were way beyond my boundaries of possibility... yet over the years I've seen how what she says may be possible... very interesting.

How do you treat your books: do you put them away safely every time you've been reading or do you take them with you everywhere you go?

I find that I'm fairly rough with paperbacks - they go on holidays with me and spend a fair amount of time in the bath (that was before water restrictions)... but I treasure hardbacks like gold and barely leave fingerprints on them. I actually collect old hard cover Dr. Seuss books - they're really old school and I love them... and they're getting harder and harder to find.

If your life were a novel, who would it be written by?

Danielle Steele and Stephen King a good mix of romance, drama... and HORROR! ... it ends like a fairy tale though.

Which book would you love to see as a film?

Sorrow Mountain the story of Ani Pachen she's a Tibetan warrior nun (true story), who lives during the Chinese invasion of Tibet. It explains her tale of struggles and survival. It would have to be an arthouse film, not mainstream, if it was released in cinemas.

To you, what is writing?

Writing can be the biggest frustration and greatest of joys. I find it most difficult when I'm forced to write something either for a certain purpose or due at a certain time. The most enjoyable form of writing for me is when it is inspired and it's bursting to come out... and my hands can't keep up with my thoughts. It's the most liberating creative process when it comes to me like that - I love it!

When did you decide to become a writer?

I didn't really decide. Nubsy came to me like a dream - I got out of bed to write it after staying at my friend's house whose children are nicknamed Nubsy and Bullfrog - my inspiration. It was only after I had decided to publish Nubsy that other ideas came to me in the form of inspired thought (often in the middle of the night). Literally, within 6 months after writing Nubsy, I wrote another 4 books which are all currently in production. The flood gates opened!

Where do you write?

Anywhere my laptop is! Both Nubsy & Bullfrog books (yes there's another one coming soon) was written in Adelaide and I started The Beaver and the Bear (due for release in 2008) in Vienna, then finished it on the train to Berlin.

Where would you like to travel, but haven't yet visited?

Machu Piccu in Peru, and Egyptian Pyramids.

Do you carry out a special ritual before, during or after writing?

Not really, but I do tend to recite my work and gauge people's reactions. If I can maintain their interest with just the words... then I know the illustrations will be the icing on the cake.

How does a novel emerge? How are stories born?

They just come to me, often in the middle of the night (or early hours of the morning) like a song that I can't get out of my head. Within a couple of hours, the first draft is complete, then I go back to bed and start editing when I wake up!

What inspires you?

Young children - I love their energy, joy and sense of wonder. They inspire me to be fresh in my way of thinking, as they are not shaped or moulded by any lessons they have yet to learn in life. There is a sense of purity and innocence, that I try to maintain in myself.

Which super power would you love to have?

I would love to fly! Being invisible would also be handy.

Are you religious or spiritual?

I was brought up Catholic up however when I couldn't get into a Catholic secondary school, I was enrolled in a Presbyterian College. That's when I first realised that religion was like a language we're all saying the same thing, but with a different accent. I have a lot of respect for all religions. I am very much a spiritual person, with the appreciation, acceptance and awareness of all religions.

Who are your favourite authors?
Dr. Seuss without a doubt!