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Gwen Grant

How many books have you had published?
Around 20

Did you write for fun when you were at school?
I've always written stories, poems and Plays for as long as I can remember. When I was ten, I was sent to a Hospital School for a year and there I was made the 'official' story teller for the other children, which meant telling a story on demand. My younger sister always wanted a story every night before she would go to sleep.

Have you always earned your living as a writer? If not, what else have you done/do you still do?
Over the years, I've done lots of different things. Now, I concentrate on my writing.

When was your first book published and what was it called?
1976 - Matthew and his Magic Kite - Andersen Press.

Was it difficult to get your first book published?
No. Josie Karavasil, a lovely New Zealand editor, bought this book as one of the first titles produced by Andersen Press. She was also the first person I sent it to. The day she rang me and told she was buying it was a GREAT day!

Which is your favourite of your own books and why?
'PRIVATE-KEEP OUT!' is my favourite because it tells the fictionalised story of myself, my family and the community we lived in during the late 1940's early 50's.

Which is your favourite children's book written by someone else?
Can't pick one but I'm very fond of Charlotte's Web and Alice in Wonderland.

How long does it take you to write a book?
It varies. I've spent a year on one book and a few weeks on another.

Do you use a computer or write first drafts long hand?
I use an electric typewriter for first drafts, then go onto a computer.

Do you have a writing routine or do you just write when you feel like it?
A big ambition of mine is to have a writing routine but although this hasn't been possible lately, I do try and write in the afternoons..

Rewriting - do you love it or hate it?
Love it. Rewriting always gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Have you ever belonged to a writers' group? If so, did it help?
Years ago, another new writer started a writing group in my town. It only lasted about a year and initially there were only three of us. This grew to about a half dozen and it was great fun. It was so good to talk writing with people who were interested. Good, too, to listen to their work and to have a platform for my own work, too.

Do you have an agent?
No.

Why do you like writing for children?
It never seems to me that I DO write for children but rather that I write for people of different age groups who like to read.

How do you get your ideas?
This is the oddest thing. Sometimes, ideas come from what you see or hear. Other times, they just slip into your mind and you wonder exactly where THAT came from.

Do you draw the pictures for your books? If so, which comes first - the words or the pictures.
No, I don't draw, although I can draw a nice rabbit, as long as it's sitting up, and a very good train (steam) with a candle for a headlight.

What advice would you offer anyone who wants to write for children?
Just start. Be honest. And have fun.

Are you willing to do author visits to schools?
I treat each request on an individual basis.
Contact details on my website.

Have you won any awards or prizes?
The ACORN AWARD for 'Jonpanda'.

For more information about Gwen Grant and her books, visit her website.

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