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 younger than I am now. Also shorter. Otherwise, fairly similar. I put most of my effort into music and sport, but I always got good marks in other subjects too. Oh, except for biology and chemistry. I didn't have a clue about those. In one chemistry exam I didn't even understand the question so I just wrote out a recipe for potato soup hoping it would get me some marks. It didn't.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A songwriter - and that is what I went into eventually when I left university. Writing books came out of the blue.
Q: Which three words describe you best?
Not good with numbers.
Q: What is your favourite word?
Chthonic. It describes something dark, hellish, or from the underworld.
Q: What makes you cringe?
Picture book or cartoon characters whose names include the animal that they are. Why would all foxes be called 'Fox', for example? It would be like every human having the surname 'Human'. Completely defeats the point of names.
Q: What are you afraid of?
Bananas. Seriously. It's a phobia.
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
I seem to have a good laugh at least once a day. So far today I've laughed hardest because my wife said to me: "Step one: mince the cat." But I'm not going to tell you the context.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
Ooh, tough one. To be honest, I don't get too attached to possessions because almost everything is replaceable. There are a some things that couldn't be replaced to my satisfaction: my piano and my cricket bats. There are also a few old photographs I treasure... oh, and my old notebooks. They are irreplaceable.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
Read, watch films, play cricket, tennis, snooker and pool, grow chilli plants, cook and play the piano.
Q: What strange habits do you have?
-I tick the top right corner of every piece of paper I write on. -I line up all my pens in geometric shapes. -I make faces at myself in every mirror, even when there's nobody else around.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Sushi! But I also love roast duck, black pudding, pesto sauce, scallops, roast chicken, roast potatoes and particular brands of very dark chocolate.
Q: What do you day dream about?
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
I've done several things that didn't seem outrageous at the time, but I suppose they were. I gatecrashed the red carpet at the London Fashion Awards by putting on a stupid pair of glasses and telling the security team that 'my people' had my invitation. Things like that.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I would love to go back to being a songwriter and musician at some point, because that's my first love. I also really want to have a go at presenting on one of those shopping channels. I'd be good at that. If I couldn't do either of those, I would work in advertising. I love good advertising.
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
Ha! I suppose I feel younger most of the time, then suddenly older at odd moments.
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
St Petersburg or Rome. Hard to choose.
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
'What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?'
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
I would increase my batting average by about 25%. It's something I'm working on. I would also like to be a little less obsessive about certain things, though that is one quality that sometimes does have advantages.
Q: What has life taught you?
- "Try to get the idea out of your head that any one person can 'make' you. Only you can make you. And no one is going to do for you anything that you can't do better for yourself, given the time." (Nerissa Nields, songwriter) - "No amount of genius can withstand a preoccupation with detail." - 'Believable' is better than 'realistic' Plenty more at www.freewebs.com/joecraiguk where I collect bits of wisdom that keep me going.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
My first book came out in 2005. I started writing it in 2003.
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
I don't really feel like I ever 'decided' to become a writer. I was quite happy being a musician, but I had a story idea that I didn't want to waste. I was delighted that it got me an agent and a bit shocked that it got me a publishing deal. I think I finally gave in an 'decided' to be a writer when my third book was published.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
Usually in my study, which I call my 'den' because it's the basement. Sometimes I go out and about to a cafe with a notebook.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
I love it - I can get up whenever I want, work in my dressing gown, take time off whenever I need to and I don't have to work with anybody else! Worst things: having to rely on a publisher to get my story out into the world.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
Deep thought and analysis of what makes a great story. Or, as Charlie Chaplin said, "By sheer perseverance to the point of madness."
Q: Which of your own characters do you most identify with?
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
Writers' Block happens when your brain is worrying about good something is, or trying to edit your work before you've written it. Write first, edit later. Switch off the judgement part of your brain and just write. In other words: separate your instinct from your intellect. It's the clash of the two that causes writers' block. You need them both, but in order: instinct first, then intellect. Gut THEN brains.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
The Guinness Book of Cricket Statistics
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
There are several: Mr Vertigo, by Paul Auster Bend Sinister, by Nabokov The Aeneid, by Virgil The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon and many, many more...
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read every day. Write every day. Keep a notebook with you. Separate your instinct from your intellect (see above). Analyse stories you love. Listen to people tell stories and learn to tell a great story in conversation yourself. If you want to go into detail there's plenty more at: http://www.freewebs.com/joecraiguk/aboutwriting.htm
Jimmy Coates: Killer
Jimmy Coates: Target
Jimmy Coates: Revenge
Jimmy Coates: Sabotage
Jimmy Coates: Survival
Jimmy Coates: Power