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 good at English, rubbish at Maths. I liked mucking about but then I also liked it when teachers harnessed our energy and creativity. I could never figure out why it was that some teachers wanted to do that, and others weren’t. I loved Biology (nature study) and really liked it when we had teachers who taught that creatively - doing experiments, and going on trips. I also loved history.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
First of all, I wanted to be a farmer (because we used to camp on farms and I loved that); then I wanted to be an actor; then I wanted to be a doctor.
Q: Which three words describe you best?
Takes up space
Q: What is your favourite word?
Mishadamonk (my mother used it to mean a mess). ‘Look at this place,’ she’d say, ‘it’s a mishadamonk.’
Q: What makes you cringe?
Q: What are you afraid of?
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
Watching a re-run of Bill Bailey’s ‘Half-man, Half-troll’ stand-up comedy.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
A copy of ‘The Merry Pranks of Til Eulenspiegel’ I had as a child
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
Watch footy on the TV, read, talk to French people.
Q: What strange habits do you have?
My breakfast is uncooked oats, water and raisins. I love pickled herring.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Anything made with chick peas: hoummus, falafel, channa
Q: What do you day dream about?
Quite often about things that happened to me in the past.
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
In the last exam we did at university, we had to wear a little ‘gown’. It’s like a black cape. I painted on the back of mine, ‘Jeff Chaucer lives’ and in the last minute of the last exam, I walked the whole length of the exam hall to get another piece of paper. The hall was shaped like a ‘T’, and I walked up one arm of the ‘T’ so all the people behind saw it, then where the three arms meet, I turned picked up the paper and walked back, so in the end, everyone saw it. This was very much against the rules and they could have cancelled my exam papers and I would have studied all those years for nothing. But they didn’t.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
Just about my age.
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Ability to work with other people in such a way as to get things done or to overcome difficulties, problems or oppression.
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Be bold, be curious.
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
Working too late at night.
Q: What has life taught you?
That this is the only life we have. The world belongs to us. We have only a short time to make it work for all of us. We haven’t got anywhere near doing that yet. Millions of people live and work in the most awful and terrible conditions. We are in danger of wrecking the planet. We must, must, must figure out ways in which every single human being on the planet is treated as having the same rights as every other. No one is superior to anyone else. No one has the right to insult, oppress, destroy other people, other people’s lives, other people’s homes, other people’s countries. We must find ways in which we can control our lives and not have them controlled by others.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
Since I was about fifteen or sixteen. I was born in 1946.
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
I think I had a strong sense of it when I read ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ by James Joyce. But I think I also had a feeling from seeing ‘The Birthday Party’ by Harold Pinter.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
Anywhere. I carry notebooks around with me, so it’s sometimes on buses and trains.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
Best is knowing the good feeling of shaping what you see and hear and think and remember into something that I like saying. And then that thing I’ve written might give pleasure and food for thought to others.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
Thinking about what I hear people say
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
Do something else.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
When I was very young it was ‘The Merry Pranks of Til Eulenspiegel’. When I was a bit older I liked ‘Emil and the Detectives’ and a Russian book called ‘A Lonely White Sail’ or ‘A White Sail Gleams’.
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
‘A White Sail Gleams’ by Valentin Kataev.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read every day. Give yourself time to think about what you’ve read. Keep a notebook. Write anything that comes into your head in the notebook. Keep notes of odd things you hear and see.
Quick Let’s Get Out of Here
You Wait Till I’m Older Than You
The Sad Book
Michael Rosen’s Book of Nonsense
The Wicked Tricks of Till Owlyglass
All About Me
Big Cat, Harper Collins
Michael Rosen’s Big Book of Bad Things
What’s so Special About Shakespeare?
Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy