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Michael Coleman

How many books have you had published?
Fifty plus

Did you write for fun when you were at school?
No. Football was fun, writing was torture.

Have you always earned your living as a writer? If not, what else have you done/do you still do?
No. Portsmouth University Lecturer (maths and computer science)
IBM Quality Assurance Consultant (software)

When was your first book published and what was it called?
1992 Triv in Pursuit

Was it difficult to get your first book published?
Embarrassingly not. The publisher saw two chapters, asked to see the rest and it went from there. 

Which is your favourite of your own books and why?
The one I'm currently writing - whatever it is ...because if it's not, I'll never finish it. 

Which is your favourite children's book written by someone else?
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. The Sheep Pig by Dick King Smith

How long does it take you to write a book?
Average of 1 month (picture books) to 9 months (teen novel)
Minimum 20 minutes (picture book), maximum 6 years on and off (teen novel)

Do you use a computer or write first drafts long hand?
Drafts in doodle-cum-shorthand, then onto the word processor.

Do you have a writing routine or just write when you feel like it?
Routine: 9-5 (with regular excursions into the garden, park, kitchen, etc)

Rewriting - do you love it or hate it?
I hate it, but love it when it's done as I then realise it needed doing.

Have you ever belonged to a writers' group? 
No

Have you got an agent?
Yes

Why do you like writing for children?
I can be as silly or as serious as I like and the result is accepted for what it is.

How do you get your ideas?
I take something normal (eg school with teachers) and juggle with it (eg school with teachers disappearing)

Do you draw the pictures for your books?
No

What advice would you offer anyone who wants to write for children?
Don't worry about target audiences, write for the child that's in you. (If he or she isn't there then you'd better write for adults.) 

Have you won any awards or prizes?
Not yet but I've been shortlisted for 7 awards - the Carnegie Medal, the Norfolk, the Lancashire Children's Book Award, the Sheffield Children's Book Award (3 times) and the Writers Guild.

Are you willing to do author visits to schools?
Yes. All areas, usually age range 7-13. Contact me at michael.coleman@wordjuggling.freeserve.co.uk 

For a list of Michael Coleman's books click here

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