These are questions I have been asked during school visits, and my answers to those questions. If you have a question that isn’t answered below then you can ask me by clicking on the contact tab at the bottom of the page.
What inspired you to write books / why did you want to become an author?
I am dyslexic, dyspraxic and autistic (Asperger’s syndrome) so when I was a child I stood out as very different from other children, and this made them pick on me. I used to hide in the school library at break times and read. Reading became a wonderful escape for me and let me explore new experiences in a safe way. I wanted to write books that children could escape into while they were reading which is why I started writing adventure / fantasy books.
Do you have a cat or dog?
We have a cat called Grumplestilskin who purrs on my lap while I write and has a bad habit of sleeping with his paws touching my face at night. This means when I roll over in the night (which happens a lot) he has to get up and move around me so he can put his paws on my face again. My husband says he is a crazy cat.
We also have a tortoise named Sebastian who is over 50 years old and even grumpier than Grumplestitskin. His favourite hobbies are sleeping, patrolling our garden looking for cat tails to stamp on and human toes to bite. He also tries to fight the lawnmower – now that’s what I call crazy!
How / when did you start to write books?
I started writing books when I was in my teens.
How old are you / how long have you been writing books?
I am in my 40s and I have been writing books for more than 20 years.
Did you dream of being an author when you were a child?
I dreamed of being everything as a child! I changed my mind about what I wanted to be when I grew up at least once a week and I think that is exactly right. All children should imagine they are whatever they want to be, as often as they wish. The world is full of so many exciting possibilities that it takes a lot of time to try them all out in your mind before you can decide on the one that fits you the best. Some people (like me) never decide on doing just one thing and end up working two or more jobs at the same time as an adult.
How did you become an author?
I became an author when my first book was published. I became a writer the first time I wrote a story.
How long does it take to write one book?
On average it takes me 6 months to write a book for children and 18 months to write a book for adults (because they are longer and I don’t find them as much fun to write).
What inspired you to become such a good author with brilliant books?
Thank you for the lovely compliment! Lots of different things inspire me to write: the inspiration for Realand came from my son, the inspiration for Raffie Island came from seeing a phone case covered in bling, and the inspiration for Queendom came from a chocolate coin.
Have you ever written books for adults?
I have written four books for adults: Special Deliveries: Life Changing Moments, My Dream of You, Without Alice and My Mini Midwife (due to be published in February 2014)
If so, do you prefer writing books for adults or children?
I think writing books for children is more fun than writing for adults.
What was your first book and what inspired you?
My first book is called The Forest of Dreams and I wrote it for my twin brothers (who are 19 years younger than me) when they were a couple of years old.
How long did it take you to write your first book?
It took me about three weeks to write The Forest of Dreams.
How many books have you written?
Counting The Forest of Dreams (which isn’t going to be published unless I completely re-write it someday) I have written eight books.
Is it easier to write a series or a single book?
I find it depends on what I am writing – some stories want to become a series and some only have enough going on to be a single book.
Why did you write the Portal Series?
I wrote the Portal Series because my son read a short story I had written about Max and Laura, and he told me he wanted to know what happened next.
Why did you call it the Portal Series?
I called it the Portal Series because it is a series of books about Max, Laura and Oscar going through portals to other worlds.
How long did it take you to write Realand?
It took me nine months to write Realand because I kept messing about instead of concentrating on it.
How long did it take you to write Raffie Island?
It took me four months to write Raffie Island.
How long did it take you to write Queendom?
It took me 7 months to write Queendom (it is twice the length of my first two books in the series).
What are rainbow corices / are they colourful?
The rainbow corices are a figment of my colourful imagination – sort of a mechanical cow with feelings. They quite like being rubbed behind their ears and under the chin, and will make the most wonderfully tasty treats for people who are kind to them. They are all the colours of the rainbow but their colours don’t show up in any particular order on their bodies.
What is your favourite character?
My favourite character so far in the Portal Series is Jimmy Joop – he makes his first appearance in Queendom (book three in the series)
Do you want to write any more books?
Yes, especially books for children. I want to write a whole book about the Merthins (you will meet them in Raffie Island) but I don’t think that book will be part of the Portal Series.
Do you want to have more characters?
I have lots of characters and you will meet a few of them in each book in the Portal Series.
How old are your books?
The Portal Series is 1 ½ years old and suitable for independent reading from 7 years old and up.
How many books do you have due?
Queendom (my next book in the Portal Series) is due out in December, my nonfiction book for adults called My Mini Midwife is due out in February 2014, I am half way through writing my next book for adults, and plans are in place for Hoardland (book four in the Portal Series).
Do any of your characters in your books reflect your personality?
I think lots of my characters have bits of my personality in them. For example; I am a bit bossy like Laura, I like to take care of people like Oscar does and sometimes, just like Max, I don’t believe in myself enough.
Are you going to make a new Portal Series book?
Yes, the next book in the Portal Series is called Hoardland and I will begin writing it in January.
Which of the Portal Series books is your favourite / is your best book?
My favourite / best book in the Portal Series is always the last one I have written so right now Queendom (book three) is my favourite . If you ask me again next year then it will probably be Hoardland (book four) that is my favourite.
Is it hard to write a book?
I get up at 5am every morning to write, and if I am tired then I find this very hard. The writing part isn’t usually too hard (except when I have to learn new things like how to fight with different types of weapons or decide what colour IS glitter exactly?) but it does take a long time to do it properly.
Do you enjoy writing books / have you had fun writing books?
Oh yes indeed! If the writing isn’t fun then I know I need to write something different.
What do you enjoy about being an author?
That I get to write down what is playing about in my imagination, and that readers tell me they like it and ask for more!
What was your favourite childhood subject?
Do you mean in school? I quite liked literacy and science but I hated everything in PE except for running because I was (and still am) super clumsy.
Who is your favourite author / author of your favourite childhood book?
Well, I quite like books by Dr Suess, Guy Bass, Jeremy Strong, Enid Blyton, Spike Milligan, C.S. Lewis, Emily Gravett, Nick Sharratt and Debbi Gilori but there are lots of authors I like too because I read all the time and I am always discovering new books to enjoy when I go to the library.
What was your favourite childhood book and why?
Again, I can’t name just one! I enjoyed reading all the Dr Seuss books, Anne of Green Gables, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and the Little House on the Prairie series.
Do you have any other jobs besides being an author?
I work two days a week as a midwifery teacher and two days a week for the Public Health department.
How many books have you sold approximately?
I have sold enough books to make it worth publishing more.
Have you ever fallen asleep in the middle of writing a sentence of a story?
What an unusual question – I wonder what made you ask it? I have never fallen asleep writing a sentence in a story but I did once fall asleep for a second or two when writing in a patient’s notes during a night shift. There is a squiggle part way through a sentence in that person’s set of notes!
Will you be writing more books?
Yes, lots of them.
How do you get ideas for writing your books?
Ideas come from lots of different things and I usually get ideas when I can’t possibly write them down like when I am on a long run or in the shower. Or when I have just gone to bed – which drives my husband crazy because then I want to talk about it while he is trying to go to sleep.
Are you a famous author?
The answer to that depends on whom you ask! My son says I am almost famous at his school but I expect there are many children who have not read my books.
Are there any pictures in your books?
There are no pictures but there is at least one illustration per chapter.
How often do you publish books?
I try to have a new children’s book ready for readers every six to eight months.
How many copies have you made?
My books are available in paperback and also digital copies can be bought for Kindles and other e-readers. There are no audio copies or large print copies available to buy yet.
How come you can come to our school?
I can come to your school because I am a Patron of Reading and part of this role is going into your school to share and celebrate all the fun things to do with reading.