I am running some brief author interviews here –
how often and how many will depend on how many authors
respond to my request.
If you would like to be included, contact me for a list of questions.
I am going to answer them myself first, to give you an idea of what we’ll be talking about.
What is the book you most clearly remember from when you were a child?
The Silver Sword by Ian Serrallier and Laughing Time by William Jay Smith
Did you ever write a fan letter to an author? If so, who to? And did they write back?
I wrote to the British author Malcom Saville when I was about nine. He wrote back. I know it was him because I checked the signature with a wet finger… these were the days when people wrote with pen and ink.
How did you learn to write? What is one writing book or website you’d recommend to anyone else wanting to learn?
I learned most by reading. But the three how-to writing books I would rescue from a fire first are How Fiction Works by James Wood, Writing Personal Poetry by Sheila Bender and Imaginative Fiction by Janet Burroway.
What is your favourite hobby or activity that has nothing to do with writing or reading?
I sketch and do photography. (Who knows. One day I might even be able to use my sketches and photos in my work.)
Who is your favourite kids’ author now?
That’s not a fair question. What if I forget some? Okay, Just for now. Frank Cottrell Boyce. Polly Horvath. Linda Bailey. Tim Wynne-Jones…
Do you have a new book coming out soon?
My kids nonfiction book about homelessness should be out in the next year or two. But nothing is certain right now as so much is changing in publishing and everywhere else.
What are you writing these days?
A picture book set in India called The Cranes and the Motorcycle, a midgrade novel The Midnight Carousel and a UK historical novel about the Children’s Strikes of 1911 called Spare the Rod.
Do you write regularly, or just when you feel like it?
I write when I feel like it, which is pretty regularly. Probably on six out of seven days a week I put in four to five hours writing, now that I am ‘properly’ retired.
How do you like editing and revising?
Love it. But it can be as scary and exciting as a roller-coaster ride. (Actually, it’s better than that – I’ve only been on one once and plan never to do it again.) Editing and revising work can be just as creative as writing the first draft. You never know what might show up.
Can you share one strange, weird or wonderful thing about you?
I’m going to be lazy, and send you here to find out.
What’s the answer to the one questions we have not asked.
What’s the favourite book that you have written?
That’s like asking someone who is their favourite child… (Probably The Paper House. Or maybe The Ballad of Knuckles McGraw. Or Silver Rain…) Actually, it might be A Star in the Water. That’s the sequel to my first book Meeting Miss 405. It did not get published, but I made a few limited edition copies that I give away at schools and libraries as prizes. I think I have three copies left.
Cheers for now.
I happily include links to author websites, publisher pages, etc. But I do not include links to Amazon. If you choose to sell through or buy books from them that is your choice, of course. But because of the company’s appalling working conditions and the way they undermine local independent bookstores, I don’t support them in any way. However, I do understand that for some self-published authors, AZ offers a platform for selling their work.