When I was a teenager, there was no such thing as teenage fiction – you went straight from children’s books to adult books. It wasn’t until much later, when I was training to be an English teacher, that I came across teenage fiction, and excellent writers such as K. M. Peyton, Aidan Chambers and Jill Paton Walsh. Before long I wanted to have a go.
My first young adult novel, Run with the Hare, was accepted by Harper Collins and published in 1988. At that time I was working full-time as an English teacher, so did most of my writing in the summer holidays, and concentrated on young adult fiction for the next few years. Gradually, though, I tried short stories, the occasional poem, and chapter books for younger children – and eventually gave up the day job.
I’m now a full-time writer: when I imagined this, I used to picture myself sitting at a desk for hours on end, writing. In practice it rarely happens like that. I read a lot, go swimming and for walks, look after my garden, stare out of the window, play with my cats, cook, drink too much coffee and send far too many emails … and somehow produce quite a lot of words in between.
[NB. click on each of the photos to see a larger version]
Publicity departments and book jackets can’t always keep up with my cats. Currently I have three: Hazel, Holly and Fleur. Here they are:
The others shown here are ex-cats, sadly, but Posy has a book named after her - see Younger Readers page.
The 2006 Costa Book Prize Winners
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This page last updated 28 October, 2012