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?
Introspective, a bit of a dreamer. I hated sport and loved drawing maps and intricate diagrams.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
Q: Which three words describe you best?
inquisitive, impulsive, disorganised.
Q: What is your favourite word?
Q: What are you afraid of?
Spiders. We have very VERY big ones that come into our house in South Africa when it rains or when the wind blows. I'm not too scared of snakes even though we've two very poisonous varieties in my garden. One is a bright green 'boomslang' that comes out during the day. The other is a large puff adder that comes out at night. Both are lethal.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
A Tizio, Artemides lamp that stands on my desk. I bought it in the 70's when it was first designed. Another is also a lamp but a much older one... an ancient Egyptian clay lamp. It still has smoke on it and fits perfectly into the cup of a hand. It must be hundreds if not a thousand years old. It puts you right back into history when you're holding something that someone used every day so very very long ago.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
It's not a hobby but I like taking photographs when I travel. I'm also a collector. I collect bits of paper that most people throw away... old maps, letters, tickets. I love walking on the beach and going to faraway places.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
liquorice, chocolate, champagne, risotto, pasta, olive oil and anything Italian
Q: What do you day dream about?
Everything. I live inside my head all day long. I'm never bored.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I'd like to be a film-maker. I think it would be exciting to make images in place of words.
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
Always younger. Somewhere between being a teenager and twenty something. These are the years I remember best.
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Nefertiti. She was 14 when she became Queen of Egypt and eventually one of the most powerful queens Egypt ever had. I wrote about her in my book 'Eye of the Sun' so it would be good to have a chat with her.
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Staying true to yourself.
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
For a sense of history... China. For a sense of nature... it must be Africa. In places like the Luangwa valley in Zambia or the Okavango Swamps in Botswana you can watch an ant colony or a herd of thirty elephant for hours.
Q: What has life taught you?
I'm on a huge learning curve every day of my life.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
I published my first story in a school magazine when I was 10 and my first novel in 1987.
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
I think people are born writers. if you are inquisitive enough, you can be a writer. I was an inquisitive child. When my story was published at 10 I felt the power of words. But I wrote my first teenage novel when I moved to a new city and my children were at school and I was lonely.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
In a very VERY small space that I share with my husband in a room that overlooks a garden square in the centre of London. It's full of books, piles of papers, an ever-changing pin-up board, and illustrations from my picture books and on my desk is my Tizio lamp. But I've also written on aeroplanes, on the beach and in the middle of a swamp.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
The best is the day you get your first copy of your book from the publisher. That lovely smell of ink on paper, those crisp new pages and on the cover your name. It never fails to make my heart race when its been nothing but scraps of paper and words on a laptop before. Worst is the boring paperwork, like tax and booking forms etc. I never realised there be so much of this.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
From reading, going to exhibitions, visiting the V&A, or the Petrie Museum... which ia a treasure-house of intricate everyday objects used by people in ancient Egypt. I like the fact that you can use a torch to get a really close-up view. It makes you feel like an explorer or archaeologist.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
Pookie the Rabbit who was very brave when the wood-cutters wanted to chop down the forest. Later I remember my mother reading Paul Gallico's 'Jenny' to me... a story about a cat. I loved that book.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read and read. You'll get to discover the books you love and you'll know what you want to write. Unconsciously while reading, you pick up a sense of voice, pace and rhythm and a connectedness to this world that the writer is creating.
Eye of the Moon
Simon & Schuster
Eye of the Sun
Simon & Schuster
The Faraway Island
Fish Notes and Star Songs
Simon & Schuster