‘Go on, ask me about my dogs.’ I probably said this more times than was polite last week. But coming back down to earth after a wonderful, giddy round of school visits for World Book Week, it’s made me think about what questions us authors often get asked.
Here are my top FAQs- and the gist of my answers. Not a single one is about dogs, sadly.
Of your books which is your favourite?
They’re all special for very different reasons: Frost Hollow Hall because it was my debut, The Girl Who Walked on Air because writing it taught me about hard graft, In Darkling Wood because I think it’s my best writing, The Snow Sister because it’s…well…snowy. But if I was forced, I’d probably say Frost Hollow Hall.
Who inspired you to be a writer?
I had the most amazing English teacher at secondary school who really encouraged me. She recognised how much I enjoyed writing and made me believe in myself.
How long does it take to write a book?
That depends on how much time you’ve got! Now I write full time, I’m getting faster. I aim for 1,200 words a day, which I know isn’t a lot by some people’s standards but for me, it’s LOADS. A first draft can take 4-6 months, but I also do a lot of rewrites at the editing stage too. And when that’s done, I sleep.
Where do you write?
I have a very quiet little box room at the back of my house which is where I do most of my work. It’s one of those rooms that sort of feels nice. Being there gets me in the writing zone. Often I write in other places too- on the sofa, in bed, in an armchair by the fire. I like splitting up a day of writing by moving about the house- it freshens up my brain.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, pretty much ever since I could hold a pen. I wrote loads as a child and a teenager. Then I got more into reading books rather than trying to write them. As an adult doing a busy day job, writing stayed with me as something I really wanted to explore again ( but never had time to). I finally re-discovered it in 2009 and haven’t looked back.