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?
Restless. There was a vast interesting world out there and I couldn't wait to see it. The one bugbear was that teachers were always putting children into groups. I discovered then that I worked better by myself. Teams suit some people and don't suit others. Maybe that's one of the characteristics of a writer. It took a few years to understand that the things I'd learned at school were amazingly useful. Even today.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
An explorer. But I quickly learned that there weren't many unmapped places left. So I then planned to be a re-explorer and that's worked quite well for me so far.
Q: Which three words describe you best?
Adventurous, curious and rural
Q: What makes you cringe?
Pretentiousness and politics
Q: What are you afraid of?
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
Today....and yesterday....and the day before etc
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
Imagination. With that we can have or do absolutely anything
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
I don't see my job as a chore. Most of it is enjoyable, so hobbies aren't hugely important. I read endlessly, am fascinated by history, music is an integral part of my life - so I sing a lot.
Q: What strange habits do you have?
Strange habits? No not me. It's everyone else who's odd.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Fresh, ripe mango
Q: What do you day dream about?
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
Hand reared a baby leopard during my gap year. He got to be a good friends and only occasionally drew blood.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Too many to list.
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
Like everyone else, I feel younger than I am. That's just simple human optimism and it's wonderfully healthy.
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Ernest Shackleton the Antarctic explorer. He never gave up, whatever the odds.
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
Ah well,I've been lucky and have visited all 7 continents. I'm not keen on cities but almost everywhere else is interesting in some way.
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Be yourself and enjoy life. We're only here once, so have a good trip.
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
I'd really like another 300 years of life in front of me. I haven't found a sure-fire method yet but I'm still working on it.
Q: What has life taught you?
Tolerance. Live and let live. Life is just too short and valuable to waste it arguing.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
All my life. Books fascinated me as a child, they opened doors to places I had never seen. They showed endless people, adventures, worlds and times. How can that limitless magic fail to inspire anyone?
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
When I read my first book, somewhere around the age of 6 I imagine.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
Absolutely anywhere. At home, on planes, in hotels, in forests. Writing is a thought process not a mechanical event. I wrote one entire chapter in my head during a long walk in the rain. Writers do what ever works for them.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
The best thing is the freedom. I love wild places and wildlife.To gather material for my books I need to visit the animals' habitat. That's taken me to the Amazon,Galapagos, Himalayas, East Africa, Greenland, Caribbean etc. It's exactly what I would do if I were rich. Not being rich, I must just be lucky. To be honest I don't find that there are any major disadvantages to being a writer. The money is a bit variable but that doesn't worry me much.
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
Do something completely different for a while. Go for a walk, cut the hedge, anything that takes your mind somewhere else.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
There's not enough space on this website to answer that question honestly. There is not just one book but but a whole library.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Write. This is a skill, it requires practice and honing. The more you write, the better you get. It's just like playing the piano. Start today, make mistakes, rewrite, throw stuff away and begin again. In a year you'll be better than you are now. Don't worry about going wrong, nobody will shoot you. And you will go wrong. We all do. Soon you go wrong a little less often and, one day, the writing starts working. And that's amazing.
The Great Apes
The Natural History of Christmas