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?
Enthusiastically useless at football. Bored and useless at woodwork. Rarely without my head in a book. A dead shot with a rifle at a quarter of a mile.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A dustbin man. Not the one who empties the bins, the one who drives the lorry. Then, when I was five, for no reason at all, I decided I wanted to be a doctor.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
My old wooden yacht, Greylag. Now nearly fifty years old, I've sailed her thousands of miles off Scotland's West coast, and if I look after her well enough, hope I'll be able to sail her for a few thousand more.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
I go sailing.
Q: What do you day dream about?
Hitting the big time, giving up my day job, and spending all my time sailing, only somewhere warmer than Scotland.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Dustbin man. Maybe becoming a doctor was a mistake.
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
Who told you how old I am? How dare they!
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Christopher Marlowe. He wrote amazing plays 400 years ago, he served as a spy, and he was murdered in a fight in a London pub. (Stabbed in the eye - ouch!) There's a story that he wasn't really killed, but he escaped to Europe, where he wrote all the plays Shakespeare later claimed were his. I'd like to ask him what really happened. But then again, maybe the not knowing is more interesting...
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
Venice, after the icebergs floated away.
Q: Which three words describe you best?
Q: What is your favourite word?
Q: What makes you cringe?
Questions about my favourite word.You'll be asking my about my favourite food next!
Q: What are you afraid of?
Heights. Depths. Not a good combination when you have to climb the mast of a sailing ship
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
1983, when one of my doctor friends told me that having a really good laugh was VERY VERY DANGEROUS.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
If I could tell you, it obviously wasn't very outrageous, so no, sorry, can't possibly comment.
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
"Don't listen to my advice. Make up your own mind." So I made up my own mind not to listen to him telling me not to listen to him.
Q: What has life taught you?
Not nearly enough yet.
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
Q: How long have you been a writer?
Six foot one.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
On the hills near my home. While my Labradors chase rabbits and deer I daydream the next scene I have to write. When I go home I sit down in front of the computer.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
Worst: there's no money in it. Best: there's no money in it - which means we do it for the love of telling a good story.
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
It's not a decision, or a choice. It's something I can't imagine not doing.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
I get ideas everywhere and all the time. If you reserve space in your head for daydreams, for "what if...?" questions, for just looking at the world, you don't need to worry about getting ideas: they'll come and get you. You don't know what the best ones are when they arrive: you have to work on them.
Q: Which of your own characters do you most identify with?
Compass Murphy. I have almost nothing in common with him except a love of the sea, but I wanted to live the adventures I gave him. Stowing away on a sailing ship...getting iced in...frost-bit in a blizzard...being chased by polar bears. Doesn't happen enough where I live.
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
By not believing in it.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
An illustrated book that told the stories of King Arthur, Robin Hood and Robinson Crusoe. Not at the same time, you understand....but there's an idea.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Stop aspiring, start perspiring. Just do it, keep doing it, keep learning about it - from your mistakes, from your reading, from courses and workshops. A professional writer is an amateur who didn't give up.
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
"Tender is the Night." by Scott Fitzgerald.
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