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 was a chatterbox, as my teachers will testify.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A stand-up comedian; the first famous female footballer; a rock star.
Q: Which three words describe you best?
Friendly; passionate; irreverent.
Q: What is your favourite word?
Q: What makes you cringe?
Real life documentaries set in Ibiza.
Q: What are you afraid of?
Mortality and all its permutations.
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
Yesterday. A features journalist was asking me about the books I read when I was young, and I remembered my passion for Roal Dahl's Revolting Rhymes. My friend and I wrote one of our own at school and proudly recited it to the teacher who stared, slack-jawed, evidently appalled that little girls had composed something so ghastly.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
My much loved copy of Paul Gallico's The Honourable Cat, a selection of beautiful cat poems. I bought it second hand at a school fair when I was eight, and, in some ways, even then, it inspired my first book - The Tygrine Cat - which I wrote 20 years later.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
I fence, which is lots of fun although I'm not very good at it - I usually come home rather battered and bruised. On guard!
Q: What strange habits do you have?
Not really a habit but: onions. I can't stand them. Raw; cooked; fried; baked. Let's call it a peccadillo.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Chocolate, cheesecake and strawberries - preferably all at once. For the record, I also love Marmite - but not with the aforementioned!
Q: What do you day dream about?
Stories - they swirl around in my mind. If they linger for weeks, it's a sign that a new book is brewing.
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I have enormous respect for scientists and have romantic notions about cosmology. I'd love to be an astronomer.
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
That's a difficult question to answer but I don't feel terribly grown up - does anyone?
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
It's a tough call: Albert Einstein; Ursula Le Guin; Tove Jansson. Yes, I know that's three people - sorry!
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Fire in the belly.
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
I travel a great deal so this is a tough call. My trips have taken me to the bubbling geysers of Iceland and the arid Sonora Desert, and more recently the fascinating Galapagos Islands. Perhaps the winner is the Amazon Rainforest - vast, sweaty and splendid.
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Not to sweat the small stuff - you didn't ask if I took the advice, did you?
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
I don't worry about changing myself. As Popeye said, I am what I am what I am.
Q: What has life taught you?
To temper passion with perseverance. I would like to say that it's taught me patience, but alas not.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
My first book, The Tygrine Cat, was published in 2007 - but I had been a secret scribbler for most of my life.
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
I never decided to become a writer. The story lead the way; the realisation that I was a "writer" was almost incidental, and followed much later.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
I am easily distracted so usually work at home, but where needs must I've worked in cafes, on trains and even on the London Underground.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
I know it sounds like a cliche but the writing itself is the best thing about being a writer - what could possibly beat making up stories and living out alternative realities of the imagination? I also love school visits and have lots of fun doing media interviews. The worst is the admin that comes with being a writer - no one warned me about that!
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
The bottom of my sock draw; eyeing the wily tomcat in the garden; spotting a gush of water under the guttering: anywhere, really.
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
I have never suffered from writers' block but if I get stuck in a sequence I step away from it and work on something else - I keep writing, though, and return to the tricky bit when I'm ready. Danger lurks if you set your manuscript aside too long.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
There were numerous books that have stayed with me but I adored Tove Jansson and all things Moomin.
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings - doesn't everyone?
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read plenty so that you can develop your taste; write plenty so you can hone your skill; be brave, be bold and don't give up!
The Tygrine Cat
The Bloodstone Bird