All of the pupils at Shrewton Primary School presented me with a bag full of questions. I sat and counted each hand written one and was amazed to discover exactly 100.
How fantastic that everyone had so much enthusiasm for writing, stories, books and how they are made. Thank you all for putting so much time and effort into your questions.
I hope enjoy my answers and feel free to ask anymore via my website.
Do you like Fanta, cola and Lemonade?
Uh! No! Not Fanta, Cola or Lemonade, the bubbles go right up my nose and my ears go pop. I’d much rather have a cup of tea thanks.
Oliver B, Millie
What is your favourite food?
I love cheese. I eat, cheese on crackers, cheese in omelettes, cheese in sauces and cheesy strings but not cheesy socks!
What kind of cake do you like?
I like coffee and walnut cake and carrot cake, oh and chocolate cake, Victoria sponge and coconut cake. Oh, I forgot Lemon Drizzle, Madeira, Orange topped and Fudge. I think there are some more cakes I like but I’m getting hungry so I’m going to go and make myself a cake.
Mia Calver, Jake, Lara Emmett, Barney, George Withers
What is your favourite book to read?
All of Roald Dahl’s books are great. But I love Matilda because it’s about a little girl overcoming adversity and having such power. It’s a great read.
Oh and look out for Rikki Tikki Tavi and Snail Boy & The Toilet Bots by Susan Gates if you want to laugh all the way home from the library.
Why did you start writing, and was it fun?
I wrote my first book WHEN THEY FIGHT which was about parents fighting and how frightening it can be. It was selected as a notable book for social studies in the USA. I wrote it because I wanted to talk about how it felt when I was younger and amidst conflict. I found that I loved writing for children. It was great fun, so I kept on doing it.
Ivy Nicholson, Helen
How long have you been an author?
I have been writing for 15 years.
What was the first book you wrote?
GOOD DAY, BAD DAY came out with Oxford University Press in 2000. You can still get it from the library.
JP, Alice, Joshua Withers-Jones, Alexis, Ellis, Lottie, William F, Grace, Lucy M, Teegan, Katie, Kelsey Coombes, Ella
How many books have you written?
I’ve written 30 books, some picture books, others are ghost stories, adventure and mystery books, you can find all the titles on my webpage or on Wikipedia. Good luck!
Charlie M, Teri Roberts, Niamh
When did you start writing?
I wrote my first book around 2000.
Chelsea, Lucy Ferguson
How long does it take to write a book?
Picture books can take as long as full length novels because you have to squeeze a big story into a small book, that’s what makes them such fun. The other thing is that it’s lovely when you get the illustrators view of your story in their pictures. So picture books can take anywhere between 6 months to 2 years, depending on how busy the artist is. But The Tupilak took about 9 months to write because I had to do a lot of research on Inuit culture. That was inspiring and fun to do.
Rhiannah, Ellen, Amber, Ellie, Bela, Georgia Facer, Ruth, Paige, Toby Arnold, Cristian, Amy, Milani Kercher
Which is your favourite book that you’ve written?
PITCH POND CURSE because it’s great for workshops, pupils love to do the artwork and work on their own ghost stories.
Seb Bannerman, Evie
Which is your favourite character in your books?
My favourite character out of all my books has to be RUBY in the RUBY series by BAREFOOT BOOKS because she is based on my own little girl and our adventures together.
Why did you write, Click Clack, Crocodile’s Back?
I had a picture in my mind of a crocodile dressing up and thought it would make a fun story. I wanted all the animals to work together and outwit the naughty croc.
Adam, Rhys, McKenzie, Amber, Oliver, Jessica, AJ, Archie, Lissy, Polly
How and where do you write your books?
I start my books anywhere where I get my idea; sometimes on a train, in a car or perhaps just walking through our local town. Once I have an idea, I jot it down as soon as I can so I don’t forget it, then I work on my small mobile computer and sit and write my story in most rooms in the house or where I can be alone. Blasting off in a private rocket would be handy for a bit of piece and quiet.
Rio, Abbie Westlake
Who is your favourite author?
I think Roald Dahl is among my top children’s authors but Susan Gates wrote Snail Boy & the Toilet Bots and it’s a hoot. You should get it from the library; it made me laugh out loud.
How famous are you?
Not at all famous and I’m not jealous of J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer in the least, much!
How many copies of your biggest book have been sold?
Thousands of copies of HERE COMES THE CROCODILE have been sold since its first publication, which is lovely to know. What I find particularly inspiring is when someone gets in touch, as a friend did last month, to tell me that he saw my book in a shop in BEIJING. It’s wonderful to learn how far around the globe my books travel. HERE COMES THE CROCODILE was published in Australia and New Zealand. I love that!
Josh, Millie, Aaliyah, Pippi, Teegan, Ruben, Alana
Why did you become an author?
I wanted to write about something that was important to me which was how scared I was when my parents kept fighting. That book was titled, GOOD DAY, BAD DAY. It came out with Oxford University Press in 2000. So it was because I wanted to discuss something through story that meant a lot to me.
What is your favourite colour?
I’m rather fond of green but I do love lemon roses, they have a distinctly different fragrance to all other roses, so yellow’s pretty cool too.
What is your most successful book?
HERE COMES THE CROCODILE but RUBY’S SCHOOL WALK seems to be doing well too.
How hard was it to publish your book?
It was hard. I had to keep believing in what I’d written and that somewhere an editor in a publishing house would believe in the story too and thankfully she did.
Is it fun being an author?
Yes, it’s great fun. I love it. Imagine travelling to other worlds and creating your own characters and ultimately deciding their fate. Sometimes I don’t even know how a book is going to end until it’s over halfway through or just near the end; pretty exciting.
Was it hard to get to where you are now?
Yes. People think when their first book is out that getting the next and the next published becomes easier. Sadly it doesn’t. A writer has to keep working hard to produce new stories to tempt a publisher to theirs select over many other books.
Is it easy to be a writer?
For me, writing is the only job I’ve only truly felt comfortable in. Every book is like walking down a mysterious lane, wondering where it’s going and whether the adventure will be successful. But even though it’s unreliable as an income, the work is something I find comes most naturally and I always enjoy wandering down that lane on my adventure.
Is it easy to write a book?
Some books can be hard to produce, you have to research and write and keep at it. The hardest bit can be when an editor reads it and makes comments. It reminds me of when I was back at school and my homework came back covered in the teacher’s red inked comments and corrections. But once I’ve worked on the editor’s suggestions, I start to see how the book has been improved.
Alannah, Max, William
Where do you live?
I live in the South West, in the smallest city in England which has the oldest inhabited street in Europe. Can you work out where?
Ben R, Gabby
Do you have children? How many?
I have five wonderful children, 4 daughters and 1 son. My older daughters are grown up and I now have identical twin grandsons called Seth and Jasper and a beautiful granddaughter called Ivy. The babies have been my inspiration for my next book coming out with Andersen Press soon.
What was the first book you published?
Good Day, Bad Day, was my first book and it was wonderful to see Cliff Wright’s amazing illustrations. See if you can get it from the library and you’ll see for yourself.
How are you good at writing books?
I’ve still got a lot to learn about writing books but I’m getting better. It helps that I like to imagine stories and enjoy watching animals and their amusing behaviour which has been a great source of inspiration for my books.
How did you become an author?
I wrote my first book and sent it off to a few publishers with a cover letter and was overjoyed when Oxford University Press offered to work on it with me.
How do you get an idea for a book?
I get book ideas from photographs, international news and by listening to people talk about what’s going on in the world. For instance, in Japan, robots have been produced to teach people how to dance a traditional Japanese dance. I find news like this fascinating and you can weave a great story out of lots of things, from robots to watching a squirrel run up a tree trunk.
What is your name?
Kathryn White (I think!)
What gave you the inspiration to become an author?
Wanting to write about things that mattered to me.
How did you write your books?
I often make notes on bits of paper or anything lying around the house, (except the cat, of course) then I type up my ideas onto the computer and finally sit down and write them up into a story.
What is your best-selling book?
Here Comes the Crocodile
Are you writing a book now? If so, what is it called?
Yes, I’m writing a book about a very brave little girl who lives in a high rise building in the middle of a city and discovers that something is lurking in the building. The something is dark, it’s evil and it’s devouring everyone’s pets. Pretty scary but great fun because my protagonist, Izzy, is going to show the world, girls rock!
Who inspired you to write books?
Not any one individual inspired me to write although I do love reading. I like biographies of brave people and discovering new fascinating facts about life. But much of my inspiration comes from what’s happening around me and from wanting to share my experiences, particularly with children.
Which books have you written?
You can get the full list of my books from my Wikipedia page, so do go on and have a look, there’re lots there and you can get them free from your local library. Aren’t libraries fab?
That's it! Thank you all at Shrewton School for a wonderful day of sharing stories and for all your interesting questions. Keep reading!