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Mary Hooper

How many books have you had published?
Over 60. Perhaps over 70!

Did you write for fun when you were at school?
I had penfriends from a very young age.

Have you always earned your living as a writer? If not, what else have you done/do you still do?

I was a secretary when I had a proper job. At least it meant I learned to type.

When was your first book published and what was it called?
My first published book was called Jodie. But my first book-to-sell-in-the-shops was called Janey's Diary and it was published about 20 years ago.

Was it difficult to get your first book published?
It wasn’t, actually! I just sent some short stories that I’d had published and asked them if they’d like a book from me. They said yes…

Which is your favourite of your own books and why?
At the moment, Petals in the Ashes. It’s about the Great Fire of London and a girl who lived through it and I found so many fascinating things about the period that I thoroughly enjoyed writing it.

Which is your favourite children's book written by someone else?

Would have to be a Just William book.

How long does it take you to write a book?
A short, younger book – about a month. A huge, long, historical – maybe a year.

Do you use a computer or write first drafts long hand?

A computer

Do you have a writing routine or just write when you feel like it?
I’d love to have a routine, but things get in the way.

Rewriting - do you love it or hate it?

Loving it is a bit strong, but it’s always good to improve your work so I certainly don’t hate it

Have you ever belonged to a writers' group? If so, did it help?
When I first started writing I joined one but they were terrifically snobby. I wrote for teenage magazines then and they called them “the comics”. “Oh, you write for the comics, do you?” they would sniff.

Have you got an agent?

Why do you like writing for children?

It’s fun. And children’s books are shorter than adult books.

How do you get your ideas?
Give me a couple of days and I’ll tell you!

What advice would you offer anyone who wants to write for children?
Read, read, read…

Are you willing to do author visits to schools?
Please see the 'contact' page on my website for details.

To find out more about Mary Hooper's books, visit her website.

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