I grew up with an older sister and a younger brother who ganged up on me mercilessly whenever they could get away with it (teaching me to fight dirty at an early age). We had a small menagerie of rescued strays ranging from canaries to kittens, all of whom I liked much better than my siblings. I struggled between being a princess (because I liked frilly dresses and tiaras) and being a tomboy (because I could run faster and spit farther than any of the boys). I resolved this by being a princess whenever my hair had grown long, and being a tomboy whenever my mum noticed how long my hair had gotten and chopped it off with the kitchen scissors.
I decided I was going to be a writer as soon as I finished reading my first book—The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton—and mad as it sounds, I never changed my mind. The first story that I wrote was about a rabbit and a pig having a party. The second was about a girl who found a pair of magic shoes that made flowers grow wherever she walked. I live in a peaceful little house that has the sea on one side and marshlands on the other. Both landscapes provide inspiration for my work. For company I have two cats, one named Hero after the Shakespearian character, and the other Echo after the nymph from the Greek myth. I also have a sprocker—a springer/cocker spaniel cross—called Finn, but normally he’s known as the Devil Hound. I sing a lot, talk to myself a lot (writers are allowed to do this) and read a lot, usually when I’m supposed to be writing.
About My Work:
I usually work in my front room, hunched over a laptop, but I also do a lot of planning and playing around with things in my trusty notebook, which I take with me everywhere. Every time I start a new book I get out a new notebook, label the front page with the working title and the date, and then do lots of elaborate doodling around the title with silver and gold pens to make it look official. By the time I’ve finished the book the notebook is usually stuffed with maps and bits of paper and full of barely readable notes that say things like: “Wingspan? Speed? Eye-Color—Do they even sing? Make something up, useless!” I would never let anyone look in one of my notebooks. I’d be far too embarrassed.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. I once cried for half an hour after accidentally standing on a moth and squashing it.
2. I can’t ride a bike, and I never could—but I broke two fingers trying to learn.
3. When I was little, I was convinced that wolves lived under my bed. I still can’t let my hands or feet hang over the edge of the mattress, just in case.