Posted by: Vanessa Barneveld | April 17, 2009

Who Are You? (Who? Who? Who-who?)

The winner of Sandy Fussell’s charming novel POLAR BOY is…Blodeuedd!!!! Yay!!!! Blodeuedd, please email your full address details to ness @ va ness a barneveld . com (remove those tricky spaces, though) so I can send you your fabulous prize ASAP.

So now that we’ve fooled everyone into visiting our blog, we thought we’d to tell you about ourselves this week just to reassure you that this isn’t a front for some bizarre cult.

I guess I should start by answering a question I know you’re asking right now if you haven’t read my bio page: “Who the heck is Vanessa Barneveld, really?” And the reason I know you’re asking that is because I can read minds. Yes, I can. Maybe not your mind specifically. But I’m sure somewhere in the world, at least one other person is thinking, just as I am, “Where can I get a hot chocolate at 11:55 on a Thursday night?”

Getting back to the question (i.e. Who the heck is Vanessa Barneveld, really?), I’m a pre-published author of paranormal and, uh, normal teen fiction. I’ve been writing for approximately half my lifetime and still haven’t managed to get published. Sad. Following the advice of pushy author friends who insisted I get a cyberlife, I established a Web presence a couple of years ago under the pseudonym of Authorness. I didn’t want people to find me online. Isn’t that weird? Anyway, I’m over that now.

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t actually like talking about myself, but I shall unveil ten inane facts about me just this once. However, I will do this on the proviso that you share ten facts about yourself. Agreed? Okay.

1. Longest stretch of work between holidays: nine years. Shortest stretch of work between holidays: two months.

2. I’m a trained counsellor but I never practised because halfway through my course I realised I was better at writing about fictional people’s problems.

3. Regular milk isn’t fatty enough for my decadent taste, so occasionally I add a cup of pure cream to so-called full-fat milk. If this is detrimental to my health, please don’t tell me.

4. I can never pick one favourite thing. I like LOTS of things, such as YA fiction, my blog buddies, home renovation shows, cats (mine in particular), architecture, design and fashion from the ’50s and ’60s, chocolate, trying to find easy ways of doing hard tasks, baking, chocolate, cars, planes, my critique partners, chocolate.

5. Some people accuse me of being secretive. I’ve just revealed five things about me, so you know this isn’t true.

6. I am extremely shy in person, which links back to Point 5.

7. My handwriting changes almost daily.

8. The thought of falling victim to either spontaneous human combustion or alien abduction terrifies me. I don’t know what I’d do if these events happened simultaneously. Well, I can guess…

9. You do not want me to be a passenger in your brand-new, freshly detailed car, as I suffer from severe motion sickness. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Strangely, I can ride rollercoasters twelve hours straight and not even flinch. If anyone has a scientific explanation for this weirdness, I’d love to hear it. In the meantime, I’ll keep taking Kwells on taxi rides.

10. My husband charmed me on our first date with a line from this movie:

Now it’s time for you to hold up your end of the bargain. Tell me ten things about you. Bonus points if you can figure out which very innocent Dirty Dancing line my husband used on me.



  1. ‘I carried the watermelon!’ (that’s my fav line ever)

    Ten things about me:
    1. I’m scared of whippersnippers – don’t ask.
    2. Hate crocodiles with a passion
    3. Came last in a romance writing competition (that’s my claim to fame).
    4. Was trained by Al Gore as a Climate Project Presenter, he’s an awesome man, very powerful speaker.
    5. Can belch the alphabet in one go
    6. Wrote a novel while breastfeeding twins in the middle of the night.
    7. Have hiked the Grand Canyon.
    8. Wanted to marry John Taylor from Duran Duran when I was 12.
    9. Can do a few hula hooping tricks but not as good as Hoopgirl.
    10. Really really really wishes she could get 8 hours sleep a night.

  2. Thanks for playing, Nat.

    I once finished second-last in a writing comp. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if it was the same contest? I have to know about the whippersnipper now. I’m imagining all sorts of terrible injuries involving ankles and toes.

    No, it is not the watermelon line!

  3. Hey, Nat, you stole my line! I’ll have to go for “You used to be a Rockette?”

    V, love the ten things about you. I know it felt like pulling teeth getting them down, my friend! Just as an aside, I love your avatar!

    OK, ten things about me. I was a horse-mad kid. I can’t run to save myself (knock-kneed is just the start of it!). I’m another Dirty Dancing fan. I’m klutz personified. I can read upside down. I am very buoyant. I wanted to be Audrey Hepburn when I was little (sigh). I play the piano. I can’t sing. I’m a light sleeper.

  4. Anna Campbell, I’ve known you for almost a decade and I had no idea you could read upside down. I will be testing you on this ability. Thought you’d love the horsey avatar! It’s a pendant I found on the street outside my house.

    Anna and I once did a very merry karaoke duet at a Christmas party. The crowd loved us!

    No, it is not the Rockette line! Try again?

  5. Actually I even play Scrabble upside down. Saves people having to turn the board around!

  6. You’re so thoughtful, Anna! 😉

  7. Aha but Anna do you write your novels upside down?
    Now Vanessa it can’t be ‘nobody puts baby in the corner’ coz that’s too corny.
    I love the line ‘But most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling for the rest of my life the way I feel when I’m with you’.. oh just mentioning it gets me choked up. Sheesh.

  8. Oh by the way are we karaokiing in Brissie?

  9. Aha, I’d like to know if Anna writes upside down, too.

    It’s not the “nobody puts Baby in a corner” line. The other line would’ve been a heartstopper, but no, it’s not that, either!

    I should’ve amended the karaoke story to read: “The crowd loved us – especially when we stopped singing.”

    Not sure if I’ll be extending my karaoke tour to Brisbane, Natalie, but I’ll keep you posted.

  10. Oooh, I love random things about people!

    Nat, I want to hear about why you hate crocs!

    V, I have a friend who gets motion-sick in cars but is a rollercoaster fiend, too. She says it has something to do with cars just moving in this stupid stop-start way and erratically all over the place, whereas rollercoaster motion is smooth, and she can handle the up-and-down part…

    I love that you’ve taken a 9-year holiday between jobs. Good girl!

    And 8 is *so* a story I want to hear more about. Also, do you think you would spontaneously combust if you were abducted by aliens?

    Okay, I’ll play, to be fair, too.
    1.) I can never remember movie quotes (hence I’m not trying your guessing game)
    2.) I used to lie and say I’d been on one of those big, looping rollercoasters when I was a teen. It took me four years to make the statement true.
    3.) I never got over my want for stories. Fortunately, people always come to me with their stories. Old ladies on the bus, drunk people at parties, anaesthetic nurses in the holding pen of an operating theatre…
    4.) All cats love me. I have magic cat skills.
    5.) I can make vegan versions of all my favourite foods and they are better than the original.
    6.) I feel secure when my fridge and freezer are full.
    7.) I love surprise presents but always say I don’t because I don’t like putting pressure on people.
    8.) I can’t sing or dance, but I *adore* movies about dancing, and I’m obsessed with musicals.
    9.) I’m one of those people wondering about hot chocolate in the middle of the night.
    10.) I share your number 4.

  11. Vanessa, how lovely to see you outing yourself revealing such details in public. I never guessed about the full cream milk. I think you could turn decadently wicked over time. Cool!

    10 things about me? Argh. I’m brain dead. (no, that wasn’t meant to be no 1 but it could be!!). I’m not supposed to be here. I’m supposed to be writing and if I find out I’ve skived off to visit you on the net I’ll have to slap myself.
    I cant read upside down but not quickly.
    I did know someone who could – and perfected the art so he could talk to people at work and read any confidential documents they were working on (he was a snake).
    I’ve just finished demolishing a Lindt Easter egg as I tell myself they help me write.
    My first rollercoaster ride was after spending an afternoon in a German beer tent (but I was fine, really!).
    I avoid rollercoasters now as I know they require pretzels and yodels to be truly appreciated.
    I don’t think I’ve seen all of Dirty Dancing (don’t hit me).
    I adore stationery.
    I can divine for water.
    I can never choose faves either. It drives my family crazy.


  12. Duh, that was supposed to be ‘I CAN read upside down but…’
    Obviously poor typing skills is another of my attributes!


  13. Thanks for holding up your end of the bargain, Kiki! I avoided all those Facebook requests for random things b/c I was saving my tedious facts for an occasion like this!

    I know I would spontaneously puke if those aliens abducted me in a car. The fear of SHC and aliens came from reading a series of magazines called ‘The Unexplained’ when I was young. They were full of gruesome pictures showing dismembered bodies alongside piles of ashes.

    Actually, I’m not so good, Kiki. It was nine years between holidays instead of a nine-year holiday, but a life-long holiday is something I aspire to!

    How cool that you get so much material for your writing from total strangers!

  14. Annie, I’m so glad you came out to play, too!

    How brave you were in getting on that rollercoaster after imbibing in beer and pretzels. What a sneaky guy that colleague of yours was.

    Am fascinated by your water divining skills. Are you allowed to reveal how it’s done?

    Have fun with the writing! You’ve just put the thought of chocolate into my head again…

  15. Vanessa, I’m not supposed to be here. Really! This morning is my only writing time for days but I keep sneaking off (sigh).

    As for divining – sorry, I have no idea how it works. My grandmother could do it and chose the location for all the wells on their farm a long time ago. My mother can’t do it but the only two times I’ve tried it the wire in my hands moved of its own volition and swung right round. Both times (in different locations) I was with people who knew where the underground streams were and apparently I plotted them exactly. My son can do it too, which we both think is rather cool.

    Stop talking about chocolate. Please! Off to make coffee and try to avoid the Lindt.


  16. I’m not supposed to be here either, Annie! I should be getting bed rest. Sounds like you have another impressive talent to add to your cap.

  17. Oh, ladies, this sounds like fun! Love learning more about you all – Vanessa, your alien abduction and combusting fears are hilarious (sorry, shouldn’t laugh!).

    Um, okay, here are 10 things about moi:

    1. Love to sing and dance, and if there’s karaoke I’m there with bells on.
    2. I have a fear of drowning – I’m sure I drowned in a past life.
    3. I once borrowed (permanently) a very small ancient artifact from Pompeii and still feel guilty about it. Okay, it was just a piece of tile, but it was carved by ancient hands!
    4. Wanted to be an archaeologist. Or a journo. Or an entertainer. Whatever happened??
    5. Could happily eat mashed potato or German potato salad all day (Anna, thought you’d have your potato fetish on the list!)
    6. Want a time machine and wish Marty could take me Back to the Future.
    7. Love food. I could eat all day. Feed me.
    8. I’m competitive to the point I can’t play team sports otherwise I’d get into trouble. White line fever, they call it, I think???
    9. I’m lactose intolerant but if I see a Pavlova, it’s all over red rover. I’m also allergic to loads of things. Very annoying.
    10. I’m clumsy and usually embarrasing myself.

    Why did I just reveal all that?!

  18. Mon, my fellow food and potato lover, you’re a woman after my own heart! Thanks for being brave and revealing these 10 things about your fabulous self. I would give anything to see that slice of Pompeii!

  19. Lol, V. I think we need to have a potato eating competition at the conference, followed by a sing-off! Or better yet, a challenge to sing and eat potatoes (in a variety of forms) at the same time. Anyone up for the challenge?! *vbg*

  20. Okay, you’ve just convinced me to register for the conference, Mon.

  21. OOooh, goody, goody. Love this blog.

    Okay Vaessa, this s really killing me now. I’ve seen DD so many times. How about “Vanessa, that’s a real grown up name.”

    Okay what else about me.
    1.I’ve seens DD over 20 times (also The Sound Of Music)
    2. I prefer caramel to chocolate
    3. I chewed my fingernails for 25 years and stopped overnight.
    4.I joined army cadets at school because I knew I looked hot in khaki
    5. My brother is a millionaire.
    6 I currently have 23 books in my TBR pile (bought another one last night!!!)
    7. I’m a huge country music fan.
    8. I’ve just had my 19th wedding anniversary
    9. I’m the big 4 0 this year
    10. I’ve given up alcohol for a month. It’s been 3 days. I HATE it already….

  22. Killing myself laughing over the “That’s a real grown up name” line! I was hoping a HM&B Medical author would pop by to help me feel better–thanks, Amy!

    (btw, that’s not the line…)

    Congrats on your wedding anniversary! So I take it you’re wearing khaki silk to the next awards night? You cannot possibly be 40 this year! You must share your tips on looking so young.

    Loved reading your 10 things. Thanks for playing!

  23. I love that the watermelon line was the first one said because it was the first one i thought of too!

    now my 10 random things

    1. I am obsessed with college hockey. best sport ever.

    2. 85% percent of my wardrobe is red

    3. i was 18 when my little sister was born

    4. my three best friends on the planet are all named Michael.

    5. I can recite every line in The Italian Job

    6. I have seasonal affective disorder which basically means I get depressed in the winter because I don’t get enough sunshine

    7. my hair is so thick that I can’t wear it in a ponytail because it gives me a headache

    8. I don’t like ice cream (and everyone thinks I am crazy)

    9. If I don’t go for a run everyday I feel like garbage

    10. i graduate college in exactly two weeks

  24. Erika Lynn, huge congrats on graduating! I’d say celebrate with ice cream, but…

    So glad I’ve found someone who understands the perils of thick hair!

    Here’s hoping the sun shines more brightly in your part of the world.

    Thanks for sharing your 10 things! I’m having a great time getting to know all our readers.

  25. Hey Amy how is Steven these days? Man it’s been a long time since high school. He used to tell the wickedest jokes in school, and that’s all I’ll say about that.
    So it’s a karaoke/potato eating frenzy extravaganza at Conference? I’ll sing, you eat the potatoes (can’t have too many carbs in the diet).
    Vanessa I have thick hair, just had it chopped into layers and the hairdresser was like “I don’t know if this’ll work, your hair is too thick”… great thick hair, why couldn’t it be intelligent hair instead?

  26. I have no answers for the Dirty Dancing line. Have only seen the movie maybe twice.

    Okay so 10 things about me.

    1. I auditioned for NIDA when I was 18 and then applied for the Director’s Course. Now I work for the govt. Oh, the irony.
    2. My biggest adventure so far has been my trip to Egypt for 3 weeks, camping with the Bedouin, sleeping on top of Mt Sinai and yes, swimming in the Nile.
    3. I placed a personal ad with a friend and we double-dated heaps of guys who answered.
    4. Several years later, I got braver and placed an ad by myself. And went on probably about 30 dates. Still didn’t find the one.
    5. Twelve months later, my partner answered another of my ads. But this time I was looking for a flatmate. 3 months after he moved in, we were in a relationship.
    6. So if we ever get married, we need to place an announcement in Drum Media, which brought us together.
    7. I wrote my first book in 5th grade. It’s called The Everyday Adventures of Witches, and it won 2nd prize in my school’s Book Week award. And I still have it.
    8. I was an extra in the TV miniseries Shout:The Johnny O’Keefe story. If you have a pause button, you may find me.
    9. I am really bad at staying in touch with people. If it wasn’t for email and facebook, some friends and relatives would never hear from me.
    10. I’m quite surprised I’m still alive. But apparently I am, and I hadn’t really planned that far ahead.

    BTW, I don’t mean that last bit to be morbid. I’m just super aware of my mortality.

  27. Cool answers, Diane! Thanks for sharing. Have you thought about reworking The Everyday Adventures of Witches for publication? Sounds like something I’d buy!

    I’ll try to find that miniseries on DVD. You’ll have to get Dirty Dancing and watch it at least 100 more times. Best rainy Sunday movie ever.

  28. Sent you an email 😀
    Thanks for a great contest.

    Help ten facts, my mind is too over the place to think now

  29. You’re welcome, Blodeuedd! I love a happy winner! You can always post your ten facts another day. 😉

  30. Don’t you dare keep us hanging, Vanessa!!

  31. This site it GREAT! Thanks Natalie for telling me about this terrific electic bunch of passionate readers/writers.

    I’ll catch up every few days….

    from your local librarian!

  32. (I’m also an illiterate librarian.. that should read ECLECTIC!!!)

  33. I thought you were calling us electric and I was going to say Right On Ann-Maree we are! Ann-Maree is my wonderful local librarian, all I have to do is ask and she orders in YA books by the score. How’s that for good?
    I think we’re going to have an annual ‘Librarian Appreciation’ Day here soon.

  34. Amy, you guys were all supposed to figure out the line and so far no-one’s come close – bwah-hahahaha!

    Ann-Maree, thanks so much for coming round to visit us. Glad you like it here. Librarians are always welcome! Nat, onya for introducing us to Ann-Maree.

  35. Well Vanessa just tell us what the line is.

  36. I warned you I was secretive! It’s more fun for me to keep y’all guessing…

  37. I love reading everyone’s ten random things. What is it about seeing snapshots of people…?

    Okay, since we’re still guessing lines, I’ll play some more (even though I really, really suck at guessing).

    “Look, spaghetti arms. This is my dance space. This is your dance space. I don’t go into yours, you don’t go into mine. You gotta hold the frame. ”

    I could see a romance starting with that line… ^_-

  38. I love that line! But, again, that’s not it!

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