How many books have you had published?
Four so far.
Did you write for fun when you were at school?
Yes, I loved writing (and reading!) as a child and wanted to be an author from age about 9.
Have you always earned your living as a writer? If not, what else have you done/do you still do?
No! I started my working life as a primary school teacher. I currently work part-time as a college tutor as well as writing.
When was your first book published and what was it called?
November 1999 -The Weekend Ghost,, a novel for 9-12 year olds.
Was it difficult to get your first book published?
I'd had plenty of rejections for other short stories I had sent to publishers, although many had been encouraging. I was lucky with The Weekend Ghost. It was my first attempt at a novel and was accepted by one of the first batch of publishers that I tried.
Which is your favourite of your own books and why?
The Weekend Ghost has a special place because it is my first, but I think my second book is even better and more exciting.
Which is your favourite children's book written by someone else?
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
How long does it take you to write a book?
A long time! About 18 months - 2 years.
Do you use a computer or write first drafts long hand?
I use a computer most of the time, but occasionally write a chapter long hand sitting in the garden or in bed! I do love my computer though!
Do you have a writing routine or just write when you feel like it?
I try to have a routine but I have to feel like writing to actually get anything done - so it varies a lot.
Rewriting - do you love it or hate it?
I enjoy rewriting - I just find it hard to know when to stop.
Have you ever belonged to a writers' group? If so, did it help?
I went to an Arvon residential course in Devon with Lynne Reid Banks and Henrietta Branford a few years ago which was great.
More recently I joined a group where people meet regularly to share their work and give each other feedback. I love it - it is so helpful - and writing can be a lonely occupation.
Have you got an agent?
Why do you like writing for children?
I love writing and I love children so its an ideal combination! It's like escaping to another world - a world I've created, and the characters become so real to me.
How do you get your ideas?
I keep an ideas book and the ideas just 'pop up' on my head and I make sure I write them down quickly (I have a dreadful memory). Sometimes I have a lot of ideas in a short time and sometimes none for ages. Where they come from? - that's as good a mystery as my books!
Do you draw the pictures for your books?
No - I can't draw to save my life!
Luckily only the covers of my books are illustrated and a proper illustrator does that.
What advice would you offer anyone who wants to write for children?
Have you won any awards or prizes?
Only the Enfield Co-op Junior fiction prize when I was 11!
For more information on Penny Kendal's books, visit her website.