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?
Very studious. I followed the rules and hated doing anything wrong! The science teachers were great and really encouraged me to learn more. I read a lot too. By the time I left I think I had read every book in the science section of the library.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
I loved animals so I wanted to be a Vet. I had read some great books about Vets helping animals in Africa so that was my dream.
Q: What is your favourite word?
Parhelion which means 'sun dog' Sundogs are strange elongated patches of light that appear either side of the Sun. I always think of my dogs as sun dogs as their favourite activity in summe is to lie in the sun.
Q: What are you afraid of?
Spiders! OK I'm a biologist. I like snakes, insects, slugs and snails and all sorts of creepy crawlies except spiders! I have written books about spiders and just looking at the horrible close up photos makes me shudder. As a child I would scream the house down at just the sight of a spider.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
A tin containing a bar of chocolate. It was given to my great-grandfather during the Boer War in South Africa in 1900. Chocolate was a luxury in Victorian times and Queen Victoria sent all the troops a bar of chocolate as a Christmas gift.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
I keep animals - lots of them. I have Weimaraner dogs and I love walking them. I keep chickens, ducks, pigs and sheep but my real favourites are geese. I do a lot of gardening too.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Q: What do you day dream about?
living in a warmer place
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
Much younger. My body may be getting older, but inside my head I think I am 21.
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
As a biologist I should say Charles Darwin, but I am a hugh fan of Queen and I would have loved to have met Freddie Mercury.
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
I have been lucky to travel widely, but one of the most fascinating was Tikal in Guatemala. Tikal is the ruined capital city of the Mayan people which dates back more than 1000 years. The Mayan people were very advanced and they built amazing pyramids and other buildings. Tikal has long been abandoned and the forest has taken over, so the visitors can enjoy the wildlife as they walk around the site.
Q: What has life taught you?
Not to take anything for granted.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
I was providing photographs for books and noticed that many of the science books were written by non-scientists and there were lots of mistakes, so I decided I could do a better job!
Q: Where do you do your writing?
In a south-facing room overlooking fields
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
The best thing is not having to commute to work and not having a boss. My day is my own and if I want to spend it walking the dogs or gardening I can. The worst things are deadlines.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
From my travels, from reading, and from talking to people.
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
I do some gardening or muck out the pigs.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
Easy - Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. It's still my favourite and I re-read it every few years. I am addicted!!
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
Lord of the Rings
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Don't give up
Down on the Farm - Ducks
British Wildlife Foxes
Waste, Recycling and Reuse
Clownfish and other coral animals