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?
Bookish. An observer rather than a mover and shaker.
Q: What makes you cringe?
Strictly Come Dancing. I watch it all the same.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
I like singing, running, hill-walking, dancing and eating cake while gossiping with friends.
Q: What strange habits do you have?
I wouldn't dream of telling you!
Q: What’s your favourite food?
I like chocolate biscuits, chocolate mousse, chocolate cake and ...err, chocolate.
Q: What do you day dream about?
Chocolate. Being rich and famous. And all the peculiar characters that live inside my head.
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
I have been down a river in the Rocky Mountains in full spate just clinging hold of an inner tube. I didn't have a hard hat. It was a bit daft.
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
I spend a lot of time imagining myself into the heads of naughty six, seven and eight year olds. But on bad days I feel like a grumpy old codger, a bit like my Guardian Agent character, Fred.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
I started writing down stories when I was at school. I was inspired by Enid Blyton's Famous Five - I didn't see why I shouldn't write my own adventure stories. But it was my third completed manuscript that actually got me into print. Jessica Haggerthwaite: Witch Dispatcher is the story of a science-mad girl and a magic-mad mother, and the fall-out when the mother sets up her own witchcraft business. It was published in lots of countries and got lots of great reviews and I felt a "proper" writer at last.
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
I was always scribbling away in spare moments. But when I left university, I made a resolution to actually finish a whole book and send it off to a publisher. It took a while - I had a day job - but that's what I did. It was my third completed book that got published, though.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
The best - being able to withdraw into your own world. The worst - getting stuck. And revising books for the third, fourth, fifth time...I get sick of my own words!
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
For Jessica Haggerthwaite: Witch Dispatcher I got the idea from a newspaper article about modern day good witches. I thought how it would feel if I had a witch for a mother. But ideas are strange things. The mind is like compost - everything you see, hear or read mingles together, and eventually a new idea grows.
Q: Which of your own characters do you most identify with?
I identify with Fred the Guardian Agent when I am feeling grumpy. Jessica the Witch Dispatcher when my relatives are annoying me. And Martha when I feel like staging a tantrum!
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
Moan a lot. Eat lots of cake. Eventually I'm so fed up I have to start writing something.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
I loved Helen Cresswell's Bagthorpe saga. The Silver Chair - from the Chronicles of Narnia. Jill's Gymkhana by Ruby Ferguson. Harriet the Spy - by Louise Fitzhugh.
How (not) To Make Bad Children Good
Jessica Haggerthwaite: Witch Dispatcher