Enormous apologies this didn’t go up on Friday… technical problems… so happy to share it now x
5 Questions to Know You Better…
Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?
Ooo. Tough one. Actually, my answer is ‘lots of both!’ Truth be told, I am a bit of a sad case and rather set in my ways as far as hot beverages are concerned. Specifically, It’s tea before breakfast, coffee AT breakfast and during the morning, tea at lunch and in the afternoon and then coffee after dinner. Unless I’m abroad, of course, when it’s coffee at all times. Never tea. (Bet you wish you hadn’t asked!) It’s hardly ever hot chocolate, unless it’s snowing.
Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?
Oh no! That’s almost as tough as the tea or coffee question! I suppose I would have to say Joe Jackson, the little boy at the heart of my new rhyming picture book, The Niggle, just because I have spent nearly every day of the last nine months in his company – either writing or editing the words about him, or drawing pictures of him. I suppose it is inevitable that characters in books for young children tend to be fairly two-dimensional, but The Niggle is about overcoming fear and finding resilience – and Joe embodies that – so I think he’s a little more rounded than some of my other creations.
Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?
I have a few places I write, depending on what stage of the process I am at. If I am doing hardcore writing – getting as many words down as I can, I work on my ancient Mac, at my cluttered desk, in my tiny office. If I am doing something more reflective, particularly if I am fine-tuning my rhymes, I prefer to sit on the sunny sofa in my bedroom, with my iPad – or sometimes a proper, old-school pad – while my hairy Jack Russell, Archie, protects me from passing postmen and cats.
Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?
To be honest, most of the things I write about have been rattling around in my head so long I can’t remember where they started. I have a notepad that I jot ideas down in as they occur. Often these ideas are fairly abstract and I have no idea how to develop them into stories. But then, a year or two down the line, I might look at one of them again and see a context – or storyline – to hang it on. The Niggle worked like that. I had the idea of a little undermining voice, whispering in people’s ears and making them afraid, years ago. But it was only last year that I looked at it again in the context of a little boy learning resilience and understanding that you can’t be brave if you don’t feel fear, and found my story.
What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?
I am going back to a 30,000 children’s book novel for 8-11 year olds that I wrote before I started on The Niggle. I completed the first draft, and I am now starting on the second. At this stage, I’m not sure when it is likely to be published!