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?
Always in a dream, I was good at subjects I was interested in, like languages and English, but I spent a lot of time inventing stories inside my head, which meant I couldn't pay much attention to the teachers. I used to argue too much about history to get good marks. I used to go to the library and get out loads of books about subjects we didn't do at school, like egyptology or ancient Crete, and read and read all round them.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
An author, a curator of a museum, a vet (of course) and (in very early childhood) a ballerina, but my first ballet lessons put paid to that.
Q: Which three words describe you best?
I have no idea!! Ask someone else who knows me.
Q: What is your favourite word?
Q: What makes you cringe?
People saying 'may' when it's a past tense and should be 'might'
Q: What are you afraid of?
I won't answer that.
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
A bit of the Berlin wall, chipped off by a colleague of my husband's on the night it was broken down by the people. It reminds me that however strong oppression seems, it can be demolished in the end.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
T'ai chi, gardening, walking with dog, taking photographs
Q: What strange habits do you have?
None of my habits are strange, only other people's!
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Spaghetti with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese
Q: What do you day dream about?
Having a house with a cool conservatory as well as the heated one I have, and being able to grow oranges in it.
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
Civil disobedience in the '80s, when I was part of CND and protesting about Britain's part in the Arms Race. I cut an MOD fence and marked the outside of the Ministry of Defence on a day when a couple of hundred police were deployed to stop us. I don't regret it at all.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
PR for a charity or campaigning organisation
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
Younger of course!
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Honesty and straightforwardness and kindness
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Not to worry too much about tomorrow
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
Worrying too much!
Q: What has life taught you?
To worry less than I would have done otherwise and to enjoy every day as it comes
Q: How long have you been a writer?
Published, since 1990, unpublished, since I was about five
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
When I realised I'd never be a ballerina
Q: Where do you do your writing?
In my study, at a desk, but I think about it everywhere.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
The worst thing is the bad pay, the best thing is getting to do a job you love
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
Q: Which of your own characters do you most identify with?
The ones I'm writing about just at present
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
Go to sleep, go for a walk, go shopping, go and work in the garden, make bread, cook dinner.. it's never a huge problem, just a question of ideas not coming. Letting go always does the trick.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
Oh, difficult! But probably Moominland Midwinter, by Tove Jansson
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
I don't, but I'm very glad other people have written so many wonderful books for me to read and be inspired by
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Keep practising. The imagination is like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the more it will do. But also, observe the recommendations for 'writer's block'. Read loads, and always carry a notebook.
Last Train from Kummersdorf