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?
Quiet, bookish, and completely unsporty.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A writer and illustrator
Q: Which three words describe you best?
Sociable. Hard-working. Creative.
Q: What is your favourite word?
Q: What makes you cringe?
Embarrassing situations. They come back to haunt me.
Q: What are you afraid of?
Saying the wrong thing. Flying.
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
Watching an old TV comedy show from years ago.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
My photo albums which record my childhood and my children's childhoods.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
Research my family history, and when I'm not doing that, I love to cook.
Q: What strange habits do you have?
I mutter to myself when nobody else is around.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
A really authentic Spanish Paella. Mmmm....
Q: What do you day dream about?
Mostly I'm thinking up ideas for stories, but I also spend time imagining what happens to the characters in other people's stories, after the book ends.
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
I accidentally incited a riot at my school when I was about twelve.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I used to work as an architect and designer before I became a writer.
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
An ancestor of mine called C. Aubrey Smith who was an actor in Hollywood during the 1930s and 40s. He knew all sorts of famous people and would have some fabulous stories to tell.
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
The Loirs Valley in France. All those wonderfully romantic old chateaux plus lots and lots of vineyards.
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
I'd like enough self-confidence to be able to walk into a room full of strangers without feeling nervous.
Q: What has life taught you?
Don't put off for too long doing the things you want to do, or you may find you've left it too late.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
I did a lot of writing as a child, then I stopped for a long time. I only became a full-time writer about fifteen years ago.
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
My ten year old daughter complained to me that she couldn't find any books she wanted to read. That was when I remembered my childhood ambition to write novels and decided to pick up where I left off.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
At a desk in my study, which overlooks our back garden.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
It's a great feeling to see your work in print, and even better when a reader tells you "I really enjoyed your book". But it can be a lonely life, sitting alone in your room, trying to make the words flow.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
Anywhere and everywhere: snatches of conversation, TV programmes, observing people when I'm out and about, things I've read. I keep a notebook to hand to jot down ideas when they surface.
Q: Which of your own characters do you most identify with?
Alex and Donna from Eye Spy are terribly embarrassed by their Dad's eccentric behaviour and weird dress sense. I used to be embarrassed by my father's very old-fashioned clothes and the way he was always mopping his eyes with a huge white handkerchief because of an eye condition he had. I hope I'd be more understanding if that happened now.
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
Go and watch something on iplayer and try again the next day.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
The Swish of the Curtain by Pamela Brown.It's a story about a group of children who start their own theatre company, and I was terribly impressed to learn that the author was only fifteen when she wrote it.
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It's a funny, tender, coming of age story set in a rundown castle. And it's another story about an eccentric father.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read voraciously and write prolifically. Try and write something every day. Diaries are particularly useful as they can provide you with material for stories years later.