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?
I was quite good at English and History, and completely rubbish at Maths. I liked sports, except for cross country, which I always cheated at (I would take a short cut that the PE teacher didn't know about). Generally, school was OK, and I enjoyed hanging out with my friends and learning new things.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
From as early as I can remember, I wanted to be a teacher. I had learned from my big brother and sisters that teachers got to boss everyone around, and as they were always bossing me around, I thought that would be cool for a change. I did become a teacher, for many years - and I loved it.
Q: Which three words describe you best?
inquisitive, busy, honest
Q: What is your favourite word?
pod: I don't get to use it very often, but it has a lovely sound, don't you think?
Q: What makes you cringe?
people who think being famous is the only test of a successful or cool person AND really, really bad jokes, because my fake laugh isn't very convincing.
Q: What are you afraid of?
I used to be very afraid of wasps, but I learned simply to kill them if they got in my way...
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
I have a good laugh every single day. I have a daughter who is a comedian, and a whole family full of funny people. Not that they always intend to be funny...
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
my guitar, which my husband bought for me instead of an engagement ring many years ago.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
I swim a lot, and I wander around historic buildings and bridges.
Q: What strange habits do you have?
I think those who say I have strange habits are simply wrong; they're not strange to me.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
chicken curry and almost any fresh fruit
Q: What do you day dream about?
having more time to do things properly and also more time to daydream.
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
This is the only outrageous thing I will admit to: I was at an event in London's Hyde Park, long before I was an author or at all known, and I wanted to show the people I was with how stupid the whole 'celebrity cult' was. So I got them to form a small queue for my autograph. Within minutes, even though nobody knew who I was, the queue had trebled, and for quite a while I signed autograph books, bits of paper,shirts, even people's hands...
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I would love to be an architect or a builder, but I can't draw and I can't do Maths, so there is no chance.
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
I feel younger, but then when I was younger I always felt older. I much prefer being older.
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
I would like to meet Queen Elizabeth I, to ask her if many of the stories I heard about her were really true.
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
Xian in China, home of the Terracotta Warriors - a whole, life-sized army made from terracotta and buried for thousands of years.
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Don't try to impress, don't try to be someone you're not; be at ease with who you are and what you can do.
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
my eyes; they are cold, clear blue, and I would like them to be deep brown and soulful.
Q: What has life taught you?
to take whatever comes my way and make the best of it; that there is always good to be seen in people and fun to be had in the world, if you have the right attitude.
Q: How long have you been a writer?
about 25 years
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
I always knew that I would be a writer, from the age of about 8 - but I didn't care about being published. I assumed I would have a 'proper' job, and write in my spare time.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
I have a study in my house, but I can and do write anywhere: the garden, on trains or planes and in hotel rooms...anywhere.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
The best thing is being able to create a world that is exactly the way you want it. Whatever your imagination comes up with, it can be real for you, at least for a while. Whether you are happy or sad, angry or peaceful, you can sort out how you feel by writing down what's in your mind.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
everywhere. My stories are mostly about real people and real places, so a lot of them are based on people I've met and things I've seen and heard.
Q: Which of your own characters do you most identify with?
probably Jenny, in Not Dressed Like That, You Don't!
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
I never, ever accept that I have writer's block. If writing is not going well, I go to the cinema or shopping, or I go for a walk or a swim. Sometimes I change from the project that isn't going well to something else. I am always writing more than one thing at a time.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden AND The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Write for the love of it, and not simply to be published; understand that whether or not you are published has a lot to do with luck, as well as talent, so it's not a trustworthy test of a good writer. And if you love writing, don't let anyone make you feel you should give up.
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