What do you write?
Fiction for children, mainly middle grade. My lead characters are often bemused by the world around them – they do say ‘write what you know’. The MA course has pushed me to experiment with different styles and genres. I now have several ‘Works in Progress’ which I look forward to developing.
Pen & paper or computer & printer?
Both! I type faster than I write, but when I’m working at a computer I’m more likely to go back and edit what I’ve done. If I use a pad and pen I just keep going, but I do sometimes struggle to read my handwriting.
Where do you write? Where would you like to write?
I usually write at home or in a library. Home is my favourite place and I always feel at home in a library, so I don’t yearn to write anywhere else.
Which do you enjoy more – researching, writing or editing?
Research is fascinating – and a great way to avoid writing. I enjoy finding ideas for stories and voices for my characters. Plotting is more problematic – I’m definitely a pantser – but my partner is great at finding plot holes.
Does your Litmus entry have a soundtrack?
No, but I do like to have music while I work – it helps me to focus. I prefer my iPod to the radio as the music is familiar and I don’t get distracted by the DJs.
Favourite author or poet – can you manage just one?
As a child I read Enid Blyton, the Pullein-Thompson sisters, C S Lewis, Louisa Mae Alcott – anything I could get my hands on. I still return to my favourite childhood authors and read more children’s and young adult fiction than anything else. If I had to choose one author of adult fiction, I’d choose Anne McCaffrey. She wrote fantasy, space, dragons, adventure, horses, romance and crime. It’s hard to get bored with someone with such a wide range.
First book or poem you fell in love with?
When I was young I fell in love with almost every book I read. I would get so deep into the story it was a struggle to come back to the real world. The first book I remember reading by myself was ‘A Dustbin of Milligan’ by Spike Milligan. Not all of it, but some of the poems like:
There are holes in the sky Where the rain gets in But they’re ever so small That’s why the rain is thin.
Cat, dog, budgie, bunny or goldfish?
Two dogs and two cats – a dog makes a very warm back support when writing. Walking the dogs is good for my writing. Something about a steady walking pace helps with rhythm, and looking at the world around me is great for inspiration. Best of all, the dogs and cats seldom criticise; they don’t mind hearing me read the same piece over and over again and are good for a cuddle if I’m feeling disheartened.
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