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Julia Jarman

How many books have you had published? 
Over seventy. That includes a lot of short stories for children learning to read.

Did you write for fun when you were at school?
Yes and to win prizes to supplement my pocket money. I pestered comics, magazines and the junior sections of newspapers with my efforts - letters, non-fiction as well as fiction, poems. I think I was first published by Chicks Own when I was eight. Mum kept the letter I wrote about my pet pig!

 Have you always earned your living as a writer?
 I used to teach English and Drama.

 Was it difficult to get your first book published?
 I think the sixth publisher I sent it to took it.

Which is your favourite of your own books and why?
 I'm torn between The Jessame Stories because I just love Jessame herself. She's based on someone who has become of my closest friends. I'm proudest of The Time Travelling Cat & the Tudor Treasure which is I think my most imaginative book. It also deals with issues I feel strongly about.

Which is your favourite children's book written by someone else?
What hard questions! I'll plump for The Mousehole Cat by Antonia Barber.  Her words and the pictures by Nicola Bayley combine in a gem of a book.

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

Do you have a writing routine or do you just write when you feel like it?
I write whenever I can, which means whenever I have a few uninterrupted days. I'm finding this difficult as I do so many - too many - visits to schools etc. When I'm at home I write every morning and sometimes in the afternoon as well.

Rewriting - do you love it or hate it? 
I'm a compulsive re-writer. It's hard to stop myself.

Have you ever belonged to a writers' group? If so, did it help? Yes, in the beginning.  I think the support - and the criticism - helped.

Do you have an agent?
 Yes.

What advice would you offer anyone who wants to write for children?
Read a lot of contemporary children's fiction to discover the variety of ways of writing for children. Be sure you want to write for children and not about them. Experiment.  Discover your own voice and write!

Are you willing to do author visits to schools? 
I'm willing, too willing, to visit all over the world.  See  my website for details.

For details of Julia Jarman's books, visit her website

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