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?
Miserable. The school I attended was big on bullying, corporal punishment, and school uniform.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
Q: Which three words describe you best?
Complicated, volatile, happy,
Q: What is your favourite word?
Q: What makes you cringe?
Phototgraphs of me in the nineteen seventies with long hair.
Q: What are you afraid of?
Getting run over when I'm half-way through writing a novel; ghosts; Alzheimer's disease; something bad happening to someone I love.
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
A few days ago, at my daughter's flat. I can't even remember what we were laughing about now but at the time I was laughing so much, I fell off the sofa.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
It's a place. The farm in the West of Ireland where my father grew up. It belongs to me and my brothers now.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
Dancing - I go to Lindy Hop classes.
Q: What strange habits do you have?
I sometimes dream in text. I see a huge blank sheet of paper that goes on for ever and words appear on it as I dream. I also sometimes dream in foreign languages. I have dreamt in French, Italian and Latin.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Q: What do you day dream about?
Alternative versions of my life.
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
I've done a lot of outrageous things. Most of them are too outrageous to tell you about. How about this? I once spent the night in a left-luggage locker in Kings Cross station.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Samuel Taylor Colerige.
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?
The person who never made a mistake, never made anything.
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
I would like to be twenty years younger and devilishly handsome.
Q: What has life taught you?
You always have to wait.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
I've been a writer for as long as I can remember. I got paid for my first story thirty seven years ago. I got my first novel published twenty seven years ago.
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
Yes. Writing was always something that I enjoyed and felt that I was good at. But one day when I was in my fourth year at secondary school I made a decision to take it seriously, to try to become a published author.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
In my office, upstairs in my house.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
The best thing is having a new story start in your head and watching it grow. The worst thing is that writing a novel takes a lot of patience and I'm not naturally a patient person.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
The complicated answer: I think that ideas come from the interaction between an individual and the culture he or she lives in. The simple answer: I get my best ideas in the bath.
Q: Which of your own characters do you most identify with?
All of them. When I'm writing a character, I try to get right inside that individual's head. I try to become them.
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
It's not a problem for me. There are always two or three books queuing up in my head to be written. I sometimes feel like there's a huge great lake of narrative and I'm trying to empty it with a tea spoon.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
The Secret Island by Enid Blyton. I came across it recently and read a bit. I thought it was awful. But when I was a child, I loved it.
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
Tom's Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
1. Read a lot and think about what you read. Try to understand how the writing works. 2. Be determined. Don't let other people put you off. 3. Don't write to become rich. Only write if you can't bear not to.
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