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?
A bit of a dreamer. Not very sporty. Good at English and history. Hated maths. Loved drawing.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A comic illustrator! Still doing it! (amongst other things!)
Q: Which three words describe you best?
Passionate, Dedicated, Enthusiastic (this gets you loads of extra, unpaid,work)
Q: What is your favourite word?
Love (without it, we're nothing)
Q: What makes you cringe?
Cruelty (often very subtle) Discrimination (also sometimes very subtle). Malice,Ignorance,Greed,and the waste of precious resources. People who will go to war rather than admit they were wrong.
Q: What are you afraid of?
The grey wind.
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
Well most days manage to throw up something totally absurd that creases me up!
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
My sketchbooks. All of my life is in them.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
Draw, paint, write, make models, go to my favourite places to sketch and take photographs, watch classic movies, collect models and vintage comics and annuals.
Q: What strange habits do you have?
I cry shamelessly at sentimental movies (well maybe that's not so strange?) but I always clap heartily at the end of something I've really enjoyed and this sometimes sets off more applause!(or gets me funny looks).
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Fish and Chips at Whitby.
Q: What do you day dream about?
Working in a comfortable bright, quiet, spacious, impeccably tidy and organised studio in an idyllic stone cottage by the sea in North Yorkshire. It exists completely in my imagination and I now only have to find it for real! This also might tell you what sort of studio I really work in!
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
Never really been outrageous, but I once walked 50 miles for a bet. Outrageousness seems to be creeping up on me as I get older though...
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Actor. Probably even more precarious than being an illustrator!
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
Younger, I'm still firmly rooted in the magic year of 1967 when it really felt like anything was possible!
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Walt Disney. He dreamed and persisted and overcame every obstacle to make wonderful things happen.
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Loyalty, kindness, Courage.
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
New York - what a buzz! But then I haven't been to Monument Valley or Disneyland yet - but it must be the original one at Annaheim that Walt watched grow from his secret apartment above the fire station...
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Persevere, Never give in, nobody knows anything.
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
Be more forgiving and watch less junk telly.
Q: What has life taught you?
Nothing ever stays the same, the tide always turns.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
D.C. Thomson used to discourage artists from writing but one day the editor didn't have a script ready for me to draw so I came up with my own and he liked it and I've never looked back! Unfortunately comic writers and illustrators were never given any credit so I had over 20 years of anonymity before my name appeared on anything!
Q: Where do you do your writing?
Anywhere. I always carry a notebook so that I can write in queues and waiting rooms etc (life is full of waiting rooms). I seem to get a lot done on train journeys. Back in my Dandy/Beano days I often got script ideas walking over the (very long)Tay Road bridge to and from Dundee.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
Like most of us, we're in it because we can't NOT be in it, which sometimes leaves us open to exploitation. Getting an idea that really excites me is a priceless feeling. I love doing school visits and working with children, there's nothing more worthwhile or rewarding! It is said that the middle of every project is a disaster, but then there's the miracle of it all finally coming together. The worst thing (after rejection) is having to chase late payments.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
Everywhere! Anything can be a jumping-off point for a story! Dreams are often inspiring (when I can remember them).
Q: Which of your own characters do you most identify with?
There's probably a bit of me in all of them.
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
Go for long walks and trust that the problem will manifest a solution. It usually does, or at least kick starts a new train of thinking.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
Well I'm afraid I read comics mostly, but I eagerly devoured all the 'Just William' books. At school,'The History of Mr. Polly' by H.G.Wells made a profound and lasting impression, and at art college I had a go at adapting and drawing it as a graphic novel - still think it would make a good one! In my teens I got hooked on John Steinbeck, Thomas Hardy and the time plays of J.B. Priestley.
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
'Bright Day' by J.B. Priestley - its a beautifully constructed story with a strong emotional pull and continues to delight me every time I re-read it. There's been a splendid new edition published recently!
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Do your own thing, always from the heart.
Time Tram Dundee
Hartlepool Borough Council
1 899827 64 1
Out of Print
The Story of Clan MacBleat
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