Authors Hotline - Where authors and their readers connect
CW4K

The Author Hotline

is 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?

snap

I was always the shortest boy at school, easily picked on, so I tried to compensate by fooling around, but I just got into trouble! So I day-dreamed... and found my own little world much more enjoyable. I realised I didn't have to be the same as everyone else; it was OK to be me. That's when I started making up stories.

Q: What do you do as a hobby?

snap

I don't have time for hobbies.

Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?

snap

Nikolai Andreyevitch Rimsky-Korsakov. He wrote wonderful magical fairy-tale music. He was really a musical illustrator.

Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?

snap

Always an artist. It was obvious from when I first held a pencil! I think I toyed with the idea of being a train-driver or a palaentologist. But in truth, it was always art. My school teachers told me you can't make a living as an artist. That made me determined to prove them all wrong!

Q: What is your favourite word?

snap

Home.

Q: What makes you cringe?

snap

Showing off, people who blow their own trumpet too much. It's just embarrasing.

Q: What are you afraid of?

snap

Questions like this! Seriously... tube trains. It takes all my (limited) courage to get on them. I walk miles around London to avoid them.

Q: What is your most treasured possession?

snap

I have several: A shark's eye lens from my Grandfather, which he took from a shark he caught when treasure hunting on Cocos Island in the Pacific Ocean; A carved wooden seal my father brought back from Greenland, when he was a pilot in the RAF. To make it even more cherishable, our family dog, Henry, has chewed it; Almost everything to do with my son is treasured: his pictures and our photographs of him; A letter from Tove Jansson to me, with Moomin stamps on the envelope. But my most treasured things (they are not possessions) are my wife and son.

Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

snap

I would love to design sets and costumes for grand operas in beautiful theatres.

Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?

snap

Oh, I've never grown up. I'm about 7 years old. On a good day maybe 11.

Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?

snap

Zagorsk in Russia. It's the most beautiful place. It's got a famous monastary, with churches like fairytale palaces, golden stars decorating the domes. Also Gubbio, in Italy was pretty amazing, where St. Francis tamed the wolf. The bones of the wolf are buried inside a chapel there. I also loved Pompeii and Paestum. Oh, and once I got taken backstage at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. That really WAS amazing!

Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

snap

Don't think you have to follow the crowd and be like everyone else. It's good to be different.

Q: What has life taught you?

snap

That it's too short. "Carpe diem" - sieze the day.

Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?

snap

Yesterday, tickling my son.

Q: What’s your favourite food?

snap

Banana Custard.

Q: What do you day dream about?

snap

My next project, usually a book.

Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?

snap

Integrity.

Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?

snap

Being a pavement artist one summer in Lowestoft when I was a student - It felt really outrageous to sit in the middle of the street and start drawing in front of everyone. And I was very closely monitered by the police! But it was surprisingly lucrative, and gave me the idea for my first book - Katie's Picture Show!

Q: What was your favourite book as a child?

snap

I loved A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. When I was a bit older I was completely taken over by the Moomin books, by Tove Jansson. Moominland Midwinter remains my favourite. I really liked Ian Fleming's "The Adventures of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the Magical Car". And myths and legends - I must mention those. I also loved a big grown-up book that I didn't understand at all. It was called "Art Treasures of the World" and it was all about famous paintings...

Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?

snap

No. At school I found reading and writing tough, it never occured to me that I would end up being a writer. But I drew out pictures for stories all the time and later went to art school. So my way into creating books was through pictures, not words. Nowadays I love both. I can't believe how lucky I am to make up stories and draw pictures for a job. It's hard work, but I love it!

Q: Where do you do your writing?

snap

My illustrating I do in my studio in the garden. The writing I do anywhere where the mood takes me - on trains, in the bath, while on a walk... I always have notebooks and a pencil with me...

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

snap

Easy to answer: Don't give up and carry a notebook with you at all times. Oh, and... dare to be different.

Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?

snap

Bake cakes.

Q: What book do you wish you had written?

snap

The one I'm stuck with at the moment!

Search Other Profiles
My Books
  • Katie's Picture Show

    Katie's Picture Show

    Published By
    Orchard Books
    Status
    In Print

  • Katie and the British Artists

    Katie and the British Artists

    Published By
    Orchard Books
    Status
    In Print

  • Katie Meets The Impressionists

    Katie Meets The Impressionists

    Published By
    Orchard Books
    Status
    In Print

  • Katie and the Mona Lisa

    Katie and the Mona Lisa

    Published By
    Orchard Books
    Status
    In Print

  • Katie in London

    Katie in London

    Published By
    Orchard Books
    Status
    In Print

  • Katie and the Spanish Princess

    Katie and the Spanish Princess

    Published By
    Orchard Books
    Status
    In Print

  • Katie and the Bathers

    Katie and the Bathers

    Published By
    Orchard Books
    Status
    In Print

  • Katie and the Dinosaurs

    Katie and the Dinosaurs

    Published By
    Orchard Books
    Status
    In Print

  • Ella Bella Ballerina and the Sleeping Beauty

    Ella Bella Ballerina and the Sleeping Beauty

    Published By
    Orchard Books
    Status
    In Print

  • Katie and the Sunflowers

    Katie and the Sunflowers

    Published By
    Orchard Books
    Status
    In Print

  • Ella Bella Ballerina and Cinderella

    Ella Bella Ballerina and Cinderella

    Published By
    Orchard Books
    Status
    In Print

  • Koshka's Tales - Stories From Russia

    Koshka's Tales - Stories From Russia

    Status
    Out of Print

  • Miranda The Castaway

    Miranda The Castaway

    Status
    Out of Print

  • Miranda the explorer

    Miranda the explorer

    Status
    Out of Print

  • BOY

    BOY

    Status
    Out of Print

  • The Boy and the Cloth of Dreams

    The Boy and the Cloth of Dreams

    Status
    Out of Print

  • Stories from the Opera

    Stories from the Opera

    Published By
    Barefoot Books
    Status
    In Print

  • Shakespeare's Storybook

    Shakespeare's Storybook

    Published By
    Barefoot Books
    Status
    In Print

  • To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

    To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

    Status
    Out of Print

  • Can You See A Little Bear?

    Can You See A Little Bear?

    Published By
    Frances Lincoln
    Status
    In Print