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 did you want to be when you were a child?
To start with just BIGGER, because for years I was the smallest boy in the class. I also wanted to be some kind of artist. Eventually I went to art college and became a graphic designer.
Q: Which three words describe you best?
Anyone for tea?
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
Last night watching the Simpsons with my son, Sam.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
The watch my grandmother gave me for my 21st birthday. Despite countless visits to the watch repairers it's never worked very well, but I won't ever replace it.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
I limp around a tennis court.
Q: What strange habits do you have?
I fold my pizzas in half before I eat them, which keeps the toppings hot for longer. I don't understand why everybody doesn't do it.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
That's easy. Bangers and mash with mushroom and onion gravy.
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
My grandfather Samuel, who died when I was eight. I remember he used to wear a three-piece suit even when he was gardening.
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Don't give up.
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
I would like to have a better memory. And a little more hair.
Q: What is your favourite word?
'Slugbucket', which is the name of the first character I created. The picture book in which he appeared was never published, but fifteen years later I dusted him off and put him in 'Shipley Manor', so readers finally got to meet him. 'Codswallop' comes a close second.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Writing IS the other profession I'm attempting, but if my spare time wasn't fully occupied with that I'd like to be a saxophonist or a pilot.
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
It changes depending on the time of day. When I wake up in the morning I feel at least 106, but by teatime I usually feel quite young and spritely.
Q: What makes you cringe?
Q: What do you day dream about?
Being able to write full-time, somewhere quiet with a view of the sea.
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Q: What has life taught you?
Make the most of everything it offers you, or that's within your grasp, and don't spend too much time watching television.
Q: What were you like at school?
At junior school I was well-behaved and hard-working and happy. At secondary school I was badly-behaved and bone-idle and UNhappy.
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
The sky over London, looking down on the city from inside a helicopter before the London Eye was built. The pilot was told off for taking us too close to the Houses of Parliament.
Q: Which of your own characters do you most identify with?
Tom. He's like me, only much braver.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
Five years - since I began writing my first book.
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
Not exactly. But there was a specific moment when I knew that I might be able to write a novel.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
My three books were written in an office set in the grounds of a beautiful country club, which also provided the inspiration for the stories. Since then I've worked from home, which I'm finding much harder.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
The Waterbabies by Charles Kingsley. I've never forgotten Mrs. Do-as-you-would-be-done-by.
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
Holes by Louis Sachar.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Live life to the full so that you're never short of things to write about. And, of course, always have a good book in your pocket.
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
Sometimes I might do a drawing of whatever it is I'm stuck on, to look at it in a completely different way.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
Making connections between things. So, for example, if I'm sitting on a picnic rug and a bird swoops down and lands on it I might get the idea for a Flying Carpet. Someone's already thought of that of course, but you get the idea.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
For me, the best thing is that it allows me to share my thoughts and ideas with lots of other people. The worst is that it doesn't yet pay the mortgage.
Faber & Faber
The Flying Fizzler
Faber & Faber
Rise of the Rattler
Faber & Faber