How many books have you had published?
Did you write for fun when you were at school?
Have you always earned your living as a writer? If not, what else
have you done/do you still do?
First of all, I taught English in a girls' grammar school but I have been a writer since 1981.
When was your first book published and what was it called?
1983 Black Harvest
Was it difficult to get your first book published?
Not very. I was commissioned on the strength of a short story.
Which is your favourite of your own books and why?
The Year of the Worm. Worm is everyman, girl or boy.
Which is your favourite children's book written by someone else?
Charlotte's Web by E B White.
How long does it take you to write a book?
6 months to a year..
Do you use a computer or write first drafts long hand?
Do you have a writing routine or just write when you feel like it?
I have to stick to a routine or nothing gets finished. About three hours each morning is my normal writing time.
Rewriting - do you love it or hate it?
I don't love it or hate it. It's a necessary stage in getting the thing right..
Have you ever belonged to a writers' group? If so, did it help?
Yes. No it didn't. They all had such a chip on their shoulders! Writing is a solitary business.
Have you got an agent?
Why do you like writing for children?
Because I love children. They care about the essentials and they are uncorrupt and full of hope.
How do you get your ideas?
Often from family events - mine or others, gossip, newspapers, eavesdropping! Sometimes a wonderful idea just 'comes'.
Do you draw the pictures for your books?
What advice would you offer anyone who wants to write for children?
Ask children what they like to read about.
Don't write down to children.
Don't indulge in sloppy writing.
Respect the child.
Are you willing to do author visits to schools?
Yes, SE, Oxfordshire, London, The North, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland -anywhere within reason - the World!
(Age range 8 - 14)
Contact me via Lion Publishing, Walker Books, Harper Collins or Penguin.
Have you won any awards or prizes?
Yes, the Guardian Prize for Henry's leg.