Children’s Page

Welcome to my website, where you can find out what I’m writing, read some snippets and see a few photos of work in progress. Lots of children ask me questions about writing – so here’s some information for you.

Questions and Answers:

1. When did you become a writer?

I always wanted to write and I still have the poems I wrote when I was seven. My children read them sometimes and laugh at them. Here’s one for you: “I wish I was a fish, fried with salt and pepper.” I can’t think why they chortle!

2. Where do you write?

I’m not fussy, I write everywhere and anywhere, in my office, on the train, in the cafe, even in cars when I’m scanning verse. The dashboard is good to beat to get the scansion to fall in the right place (please don’t try this and drive though!). It makes a really good noise!

3. What do you like about being a writer?

I like working on my own and I write the books for me, my children, my nephew and nieces and all their friends. I imagine the child I was at a certain age, or I think about something that’s happening to my children, and away I go.

4. Who are your favourite writers?

I grew up without a TV so I read everything (including detective stories that gave me nightmares). My favourite writers, when I was younger, were John Masefield (the Box of Delights), Erich Kastner (Emil and the Detectives), Arthur Ransome (Swallows and Amazons) and Richmal Crompton (Just William). Now I love Jane Austen, George Eliot, Mary Wollstonecraft and Angela Carter. Can you spot something interesting about who I read as a child and who I read now? (Clue: Are the writers men or women?)

5. I want to be a writer. What should I do?

I think the best advice is to read, everything and anything, including the newspapers. Some of the best plots come from real life and the more you read, the more you will realise what works and what doesn’t. A few things I have learned – less is more (a good rule of thumb is that you can lose 30% of what you write in a first draft), patient is good, the first draft is never as good as when you try again. And again. And again.

6. Does your family get put in your books?

Almost all my family appear in one form or another, in Fussy Freya, and the follow-up, Rakish Ravi. No-one is safe, but I usually disguise their identities!

7. Where do your best ideas come from?

My children accuse me of stealing their best ideas. I have to pay them now before they will even speak to me. That’s why they are rich and I’m getting poorer by the day. But sometimes they take pity on me and do the housework!

8. What else do you like doing apart from writing?

All of us like cooking together. We have been learning to make Swiss Rolls, jam (blackcurrant is our favourite) and we want to learn how to make chocolate mousse. We do eat healthy food as well, though! We also like gardening and dug a pond in our garden next year. I found two frogs in it recently. It’s supposed to be the best thing you can do in a garden for bio-diversity. (You could make one too!) And we also play balloon badminton and football inside when it’s cold and wet outside. I’m better than my children (at the moment, that is!)

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