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 wasn't a very good girl at school. I had a lot of friends but I don't think the teachers liked me much. I'm dyslexic so I found written work hard and as a result often acted the clown to make up for the fact that I didn't do well academically.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
I wanted to be a teacher because my mum and grandmother were both teachers, but when I look back, that wasn't where my real passion was. I loved art and I enjoyed creating stories - the problem was, my parents didn't rate art as a career choice and no one could read my stories because my spelling was so bad!
Q: Which three words describe you best?
Creative. Green. Funny.
Q: What is your favourite word?
onomatopoeia - I can't spell it, but I love it.
Q: What makes you cringe?
fingernails down a blackboard.
Q: What are you afraid of?
Fear! I refuse to live my life in fear.I once abseiled 160 ft to overcome a fear of heights. There is nothing to fear but fear itself!
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
Three days ago - side splitting, tear invoking, uncontrollable laughter. So good for the soul. :-)
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
My photo collection. It chronicles my life and shows my children from bumps to adults. Irreplacable.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
Yoga, swimming, walking in the woods, cycling, reading, photography, cooking, theatre and cinema.
Q: What strange habits do you have?
I have to eat my breakfast in the right order. I can't eat my porridge before my yoghurt - no way! And I always say thank you to things before I throw them away or recylce them. `Thank you, shoes for protecting my feet for all those miles I've walked.' Things like that.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Mushroom wellington! Fiddly recipe but absolutely delish!
Q: What do you day dream about?
Having a holiday home right on the beach so that I can wake up and see the sea.
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
I dressed up as Rod Stewart and sang Maggie May in front of 200 people at a friend's birthday party.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I'd like to be a set designer for films or theatre. OR - when I was researching Diamond Geezers I visited an funeral director and I was fascinated by the whole undertaking business, so I'd quite like to have a go at that.
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?
Mahatma Ghandi. He's one of my all time heroes.
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
Luxor in Egypt.
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
If you can visualise it, you can create it.
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
I'd like to increase my metabolism! I've always struggled with my weight.
Q: What has life taught you?
To make the most of every minute. You never know when those you love are going to leave you.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
I wrote my first story in 1977 but then had 23 years of being rejected before I had my first book, Magenta Orange, accepted in 2000.
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
Not really but in 2000 I had an operation which went wrong and I died (technically!). When I came out of hospital I decided life was too short to waste and I'd wanted to be a writer for over 2 decades, so I gave myself one year to get published. That was the decisive moment for me.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
The front room of our house is my study. It has a real fire and I've got fairy lights round the fireplace and a water fountain in the corner. I can also see everything that happens in the road outside. Sometimes, I take my laptop and go and sit in a local coffee shop, or even the pub - with a soft drink, of course.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
The best thing is the freedom to run my own life. I can do what I want, when I want. The worst thing is the isolation. It doesn't often get to me, but if I haven't spoken to anyone other than my husband for a week, I pack up my laptop and go and work somewhere public just to be around other people.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
Real life. I take things that have really happened to me or my children, or my friends and expand on them and exaggerate them.
Q: Which of your own characters do you most identify with?
Probably Modesty de Mise from Diamond Geezers -she's an eco-warrior and a wannabe undertaker.
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
Two things: 1 - I write through it - anything. Just keep writing even if I have to scrap it all the next day. 2 - Do something completely different - go for a walk or watch a DVD, anything to give my brain a rest. 3 - (OK, I know I said 2, but this is a little extra) I NEVER call it `writers' block'! I think that once you give something a name, you give it power, so I just say I'm taking a break, or I need to get clear.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
Eeek! As I said, I'm dyslexic, so reading has always been difficult for me and I didn't read as a child. I always dread this question when it comes up. I do read now though - I'm in a book group and I make a point of reading at least one book per month. Like everything else in life, the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
Harry Potter! Nuff said!
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Don't give up. A rejection of your story isn't a rejection of you. Read why it was rejected and make the appropriate alterations if necessary - and keep writing!
Magenta In the Pink
Magenta Goes Green
Sahdes of Magenta
Magenta Sings the Blues
Out of Print
Out of Print