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 is your favourite word?
Q: Which three words describe you best?
Small, bossy, opinionated
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
Q: What were you like at school?
Naughty but keen
Q: What makes you cringe?
Q: What are you afraid of?
Lightning, lions, elephants and sharks – all for personal and very good reasons.
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
A second Christmas dinnertime when my daughter had made crackers and we played with the hilarious contents.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
A photo of my son as a two year old, smiling
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
Buy antiques and old books about birds at car boot sales
Q: What strange habits do you have?
Talking to cats Buying old knitted toys – but I’m trying to give it up.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Mussels and chips
Q: What do you day dream about?
Not a lot, but I have vivid night dreams, mostly about being lost in a strange city, having lots of people to feed and having bought and prepared no food, and having lost my children. Those three nightmares often combine!
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
Pulled down a retired dermatologist’s trousers at a party to teach him some manners.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Screen writer/ director
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
Much much younger
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Do it now!
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
Q: What has life taught you?
To live every day as if it is my last.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
A published writer since 1979 I think it was. ( Wrote captions to go with my published photos in a national magazine) Suddenly realised I could do this. Had short stories published about the same time. But wrote my first, unpublished, novel called A SURFEIT OF GENET. Dreadful self-absorbed rubbish, but an agent liked it – he couldn’t persuade any publishers though. Just as well. It’s still in a cupboard somewhere. But everyone has to write rubbish before they can write anything worth keeping – it’s like an apprenticeship. You can only learn to write by writing.
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
When I was short-listed in a Vogue Talent Contest in 1976 I think it was. Marina Warner was the winner. I was the only winner without a degree. I sat next to one of the judges - Princess Margaret’s photographer husband – Anthony Armstrong Jones at the prize giving lunch at the Vogue House in Hanover Square. He wore a name badge with DAISY on it. I drank too much champagne.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
At my computer in a workroom with a panoramic view of the sea. The cats follow me and keep me company.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
The best thing is being able to work from home, so I can fit in shopping and cooking etc when I want to. More to the point, I enjoy working for myself, and being able to express myself every day. I am unhappy if I don’t create something every day. The worst thing is the isolation. When I do meet people I tend to gabble, as if I have been alone on a desert island for years.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
Every day life.
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
Ignore it, don’t believe in it, just write anything at all – what is outside the window, what are the cats doing, what have I just read, what did I cook last night? What are the gulls doing? Eventually, something good comes out of the dross. Also, I am a photographer, so I make photos and plan photo books when the writing muse strays.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
KING SOLOMON’S MINES by RIDER HAGGARD
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
Katherine Mansfield’s Collected Short Stories
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read all the classics and anything new that’s good. Forget the rubbish. If you only read rubbish, you’ll probably write rubbish. And write something every day. Keep a journal of things you see and notice – smells, sights, sounds, natural events: The time you trod on a snail, a red moon, the scent of snow, rain on a window. You might think you can remember, but life gets in the way and you forget. Better write it down. That way you have a record and can make use of it somehow –in a story or a poem. Use all your senses. Be alive. The world is wonderful. Life is to be lived. Then you have something to write about. Work hard at it. It’s worth it.
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
THE BURYING BEETLE
THE BOWER BIRD
Because We Have Reached That Place
BORN AND BRED
Out of Print