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Cecily Paterson and the Squished Bananas Club

PatersonCecilyWhat’s something the Wombat family should know about you?

Most people seem to be interested in the fact that I spent my childhood in Pakistan and went to boarding school in the Himalayan Mountains when I was 11 (so I usually add that in to anything I write about myself). I like dark chocolate, sewing things, and writing letters. I’m never going to get a tattoo, and I have a really cute black-and-brown furry dog who lies next to my desk all day.

Did you have a club when you were at school?

Of course! There were the usual ‘Spy on the Boys’ clubs I created with my bestie, Sharon, at various times (mostly when we were bored). In Year 2 I was in the ‘Cat Club’, in which everyone became a different breed of cat, of course. We stretched and purred our way around the playground. The best club was when I was in Year 5, where we made up the 'Squished Bananas Club' (don’t ask me why I called it that because I truly hate bananas and won’t ever eat them). The Squished Bananas had a club book, constitution, written purpose and all the official stuff. I’m pretty sure it was just an advanced version of ‘Spy on the Boys’, though. It was embarrassing when the boys actually discovered the club book and started reading it out loud to the whole school bus.

What’s your opinion on mascara?

Amusingly, I really like mascara. I have hopelessly wimpy eyelashes that are short and stubby, and when I don’t wear mascara I feel like I look pretty ordinary. Having said that, I don’t think you need to wear mascara when you’re eleven years old like Abby Smart in the book. Maybe wait a few years.

What is your favourite children’s book? How did it influence you?

There are too many children’s books that are my favourites and I can’t possibly pick one. I’ve loved almost every book I’ve ever read. One of my favourite writers when I was eleven, though, was Rumer Godden. She had a beautiful way of stitching words together and it made me feel almost hypnotised. All I could think when I read her stories was: ‘Wow – I want to write like that.’smartgirlsdontwearmascarasmall

What did you want to be when you were twelve years old? How’s that changed now?

My life ambition hasn’t really changed since I was eight years old and decided for sure that I would be a writer. I dabbled with the idea of being a world-famous ballet dancer, Olympic swimmer and prize-winning gymnast, like everyone does. I also had a brief, fleeting ambition to be a billionaire business woman, who carries around a very smart briefcase and wears a suit. But the desire that has lasted the longest has always been to be a writer who is famous enough to have a display of her books in a bookshop window.

Sum up Smart Girls Don’t Wear Mascara in 5 words.

Five Words: Abby Smart is totally clueless.

(Four additional words: But she means well).

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