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 found maths and geography boring and whiled away those classes drawing cartoons and writing Extremely Adventurous Stories. Which is why I can’t add and, when I travel to distant places, I don’t know where I am on the map.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
On moonlit nights, the first female astronaut, but mostly a writer and artist.
Q: What is your favourite word?
Q: What makes you cringe?
People who are unkind to children and animals.
Q: What are you afraid of?
Being trapped in a lift, London underground, or enclosed swimming pool chutes – which fears inspired me to write The Dwellers Beneath.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
The original watercolour painting illustrating my short story ‘The Song went up the Stair’ which won The Sunday Times CWA Short Story Award.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
Cooking and eating Great Meals, and playing tennis to work off the resulting weight. Most of all I like reading and ‘wordy’ games like scrabble and crosswords.
Q: What strange habits do you have?
When I’m stuck for ideas I suck the tip of my left thumb, just like Celtic hero Cuchulain who sucked his thumb that touched the Salmon of Knowledge.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Q: What do you day dream about?
Landing on an inhabited planet – making sure I have several biros and a fat notebook.
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
At the age of seven I left home on my little bike to visit my favourite aunt in Dublin – thirty miles away. My father and the police caught up with me after ten miles.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Astronaut, or famous chef (with lots of helpers to do the messy stuff).
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
Sometimes older, mostly younger.
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Courage, feistiness and good humour, just like Esty in my book Esty’s Gold.
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
Port Arthur, the horrendous old prison in Tasmania, which inspired my book Lawlor’s Revenge.
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
To always be myself.
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
Q: What has life taught you?
To trust my own judgement and go with what I think is right.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
I gave up teaching art in 1994 to be a full time writer.
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
When I was grounded for a week after the cycling-to-Dublin incident.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
In my special room, which looks out on an old abbey and a field of sheep.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
The best things are the letters and emails I get from readers. The worst thing is getting a great idea and forgetting it because I had no notebook.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
Like the Irish writer WB Yeats, ‘in the rag and bone shop of the heart.’
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
I take my dog for a walk in the forest nearby and discuss my problem with him.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
Alice in Wonderland.
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
Alice in Wonderland.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Always have a notebook and pencil with you.
The Dwellers Beneath
Pa Jinglebob the Fastest Knitter in the West
Pa Jinglebob and the Grabble Gang
Nick and the Canal Painter
Larkspur and the Grand March