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?
I loved primary school, it was fantastic, I was good at everything except sport, and horribly competitive even at needlework. I HATED secondary school where I learned I was rubbish at everything and stopped bothering trying.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
When I was 8 I wanted to be a poet. When I was fifteen I wanted to be a photographer. When I was 19 I wanted to make films.
Q: Which three words describe you best?
Untidy. I am also one of those fools who rushes in. That is more than three words. Sorry!
Q: What is your favourite word?
Q: What makes you cringe?
Small round blobby things. Plastic Dolls. Ew!
Q: What are you afraid of?
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
Yesterday. No, this morning, listening to my daughter laugh.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
I don't have any precious things. People, but you don't own them do you.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
I am a bit mad on swimming at the moment. We have an open air lido in the park and I have been going in the snow and ice - I slipped on the side a few weeks ago- ouch! I also knit obsessively - I used to earn money knitting as a student - and I used to ride a lot, haven't for years and I miss it.
Q: What strange habits do you have?
Swimming in the snow.......
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Q: What do you day dream about?
Having my own pony and riding round Hampstead Heath.
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
Climbing into Highgate Cemetery when I was a teenager. Riding around Hampstead Heath on a horse. Riding over Primrose Hill on a motorbike.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Horse wrangler. Chocolate frog quality control.
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
Obviously I am not really that woman I see in the mirror.
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Princess Caraboo! She features in my next book but she was a real girl and lived to a ripe old age when she was a commercial medicinal leech supplier in Bristol.
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
The Dennis Severs House in Norton Folgate, Spitalfields. It is an eighteenth century weavers house, it's not a museum, you enter each room and it is as if the family have just left. It is a real step into the past.
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Bernice Rubens, who was a fantastic writer, told me it was alright not to know where the story you're working on is going, and that you write it to find out.
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
I wish I didn't rush in like a fool all the time....
Q: What has life taught you?
If you don't rush in like a fool, you might miss something good.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
My fist book was published around 18 years ago. But I had written a film script before then. But it never got made!
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
No, but when I realised I could actually write a book I knew this was the life for me.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
At a table covered with books and stuff. At the moment on my table are two Slang dictionaries - very useful as I am writing in the early nineteenth century at the moment. My hero is a bit of an unpleasant fellow and he uses some colourful language. There is also a picture book I like, called The Dunderheads, a diary, two notebooks, a sewing box, some leather cleaner, two pencil pots which are mostly full of knitting needles, a brand new pair of tights - bright pink - a pair of scissors a tape measure and a computer of course. Also a tiny little pottery hen that is full of coins.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
The best is being able to work in your pyjamas and having a job where you make stuff up. Basically I just pretend things, and that's my job. Pretending! When a story is going well it is brilliant. When you get stuck and you have no one to talk to about it and there doesn't seem a way out it is brilliant. Also you will never be rich if you are an author unless you are very very very lucky.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
From a shop in Broadway Market. No from everything, from things I have read, from things I have done and from people talking, it all mashes up inside my head then spews out in a new and story form. I hope!
Q: Which of your own characters do you most identify with?
I like Cato from A Nest Of Vipers - and Addeline actually. And I like Stella from the book of the same names because she can read minds - a bit- and I learned a lot of cold reding techniques writing that book.
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
Go for a swim! Or a walk. Walking is good. I think a lot when I walk. But whatever it is do something else. Trick yourself into thinking it doesn't matter.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
Comet in Moominland by Tove Jannson. Magic By the Lake by Edward Eager. The Cat in The Hat by Dr Suess.
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
The Sterkarm Handshake by Susan Price Holes by Louis Sachar Let's Get Lost by Sarra Manning
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Make sure you live a bit and don't just read stuff. Read stuff! Read everything. Try things, play with words, muck around with them. Daydream as much as possible. Don't forget how to pretend.
A Nesy of Vipers
The Dying Game