The Author Hotline
being developed by CW4K, or Creative Writing 4 Kids. They are the company behind a website that enables children to create and publish their own stories online. In its first year it has signed up over 2000 members and has been enthusiastically received by children, parents and teachers. In fact the response has been so encouraging that they are planning a huge expansion of its services. Embedding The Author Hotline into the site is part of that expansion...
For more information on CW4K CLICK HERE
Q: What were you like at school?
Good at lessons but brilliant at breaking the rules and getting away with it. (Sorry, teachers.)
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
French. I'm not sure why. Or a top tennis player. Or, ideally, a top French tennis player.
Q: Which three words describe you best?
Short. Funny. Fierce.
Q: What is your favourite word?
Faberoony (though I'm not sure how to spell it).
Q: What makes you cringe?
Having my photo taken. Seeing the result.
Q: What are you afraid of?
Large insects. They're fine until they move...
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
Yesterday, when my daughter (aged 3) asked me if I'd got her school 'unicorn' ready.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
Apart from my children and dogs, a fossil seashell from the Thar Desert in Rajasthan, India. Millions of years ago, it was under the sea.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
I read, play tennis (badly), walk my dogs and watch Neighbours.
Q: What strange habits do you have?
Watching Neighbours! Of course, I don't think that's strange.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Q: What do you day dream about?
Being a top tennis player (okay, so it's never going to happen). And finishing my work on time.
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
There are a few but I'm hoping that the best is yet to come.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Have a guess? Apart from that, I'd love to have my own radio show.
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
Much, much younger. And sillier.
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Very difficult. Dead: Jawaharlal Nehru. Alive: David Bowie. Sorry, that's two.
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
A sense of humour. Generosity. Kindness.
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
Madagascar. Iceland. Namibia. It's impossible to choose between them.
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Nil Desperandum (Do not despair).
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
I'd like to be taller (apart from on planes when it's very useful having short legs).
Q: What has life taught you?
That you have a choice - you can either get on with it, or let it get on with you.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
More than 20 years.
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
Not really. I was working at Usborne as an editor and writing books in-house, and decided to go freelance. But I'm very lucky to have found something that I really love doing.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
In an office in my house.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
Best: being able to be flexible, so you can go and play tennis (as long as you catch up with work later). Worst: having to catch up with work later, when you'd rather watch Neighbours. And deadlines.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
For Horrible Geography, my ideas all come from the world around me, and the amazing stories of people who explore it.
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
Go and do some chores - putting on the washing, boring things like that. It doesn't always work but at least we have clean clothes.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkein
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
Lord of the Rings; Horrible Histories
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Nil Desperandum (see above). Keep going, keep practising, keep writing. You'll get there in the end.
A Geography of the World