I write short stories and novels for children aged 9 to 11. I have been writing Gothic stories and adventures as well as contemporary fairy tales. I usually begin writing with a pen and notebook, it has to be a certain type of biro, then I transfer it to the computer fairly soon. Writing in a notebook helps me with the flow and getting a narrative started. However, I find it easier to edit and make changes if I am working on the computer. I print numerous versions to check, edit and read them aloud.
I like writing in my study but I often jot down notes when I’m out, for instance in a coffee shop or on a train. My study is peaceful and has doors out onto a roof terrace; when I step out onto the terrace and look down on the old town below it is like being in a secret world. I have hundreds of books in my study and love sitting in my red armchair reading and thinking about what to write. I really enjoy researching for my novels and it helps me to develop ideas, but sometimes the research distracts me and I spend too much time on it.
I love reading literary fiction and Gothic literature. I like reading books by Marcus Sedgwick and Neil Gaiman but also enjoy Ann Radcliffe’s novels to name but a few. I have always enjoyed fairy tales and my favourite story when I was younger was ‘The Snow Queen’ by Hans Christian Andersen and the novel I liked best was ‘Winter Holiday’ by Arthur Ransome.
The first book I probably fell in love with was the picture book Pretzel by Margaret Rey, about a Dachshund who is teased because he grows too long. My worn out copy of this book is still on a shelf in my study.