I love getting letters from readers in the post. Real letters are far more fun than emails. I love opening the envelopes, unfolding the letter inside, holding the exact piece of paper that a little while ago the sender was writing on. There’s something quite magical about letters.
This week I answered three letters from young readers. Two of them were from Ireland, one was from the UK. Each contained questions for me. I thought I’d answer some of these questions below. Maybe they are questions that you would also ask me if you could.
If you’d like to write to me, I’d be delighted. The address is: Sarah Webb c/o Walker Books, 87 Vauxhall Walk, London SE11 5HJ, England. I promise to write back to you.
Sarah, how did you get the idea for Amy Green?
My teen diaries. As a teen I wrote in them every day and it was fascinating reading back and seeing what made me happy, upset or angry at 14, 16 or 18.
Who or what inspired you to write?
Judy Blume, Enid Blyton and all the wonderful writers I read as a child. I was and still am a huge, devoted reader. I found friends on the pages of books. Reading inspired me to write.
What is Ireland like (this was from a UK reader) and where do you live?
I live in Dun Laoghaire – below – a town 7 miles from Dublin city which has a large harbour. It has a great cinema, a theatre and the best library in Ireland, the Lexicon. We live on a long street which winds its way up a hill from the sea. In Ireland you are never far from the countryside and if you drive for a little while you’ll hit green fields, hills and mountains.
I also spend a lot of time in West Cork – above – which has the most stunning landscape. The people are very special too, warm, friendly and funny.
It’s hard to say what Ireland is like. It is a place where books and stories and cherished, which I think makes it very special. What I do know is that for me it’s home and although I love to travel, my heart belongs to Ireland.
What was your dream job as a child?
Writer. It just goes to show that sometimes dreams really do come true if you work hard enough and follow your heart.
What is being a writer like?
Do you write all day?
I’ll answer these two questions together. I have lots of different kinds of days – writing days, school visit days, festival planning days, reading and reviewing days, teaching days. Most writers don’t just write, especially children’s writers – they do lots of other things too.
Every week I spend 2 or 3 mornings writing – from 10am to 2pm – and 2 days visiting schools, teaching creative writing, reviewing and doing other bits of work relating to books. I try to write 2k words every time I sit down at my desk, that’s my aim. I often don’t hit this target, but sometimes I do.
At the moment I am Writer in Residence in Dún Laoghaire so from September I will be hosting book clubs for young readers and writing workshops, that will be fun.
What job would you do if you weren’t a writer?
A children’s bookseller. One day I hope to own my own children’s bookshop. Watch this space!