7. Do your plot ideas come from research, or do you wait for inspiration?
Sometimes I’ll be given a brief to write to. I quite like the challenge of doing that. It’s like doing school English homework (yes, I know I’m weird). Other stories might come from a picture. At the moment I’m trying to come up with a story idea every day for a month based on pictures drawn by an amazing illustrator, John Shelley. Or I might see something interesting on the news or social media. And other times I will have a completely random idea out of the blue, usually in the middle of the night. I always have a notebook with me just in case!
8. Do you see yourself as any of your characters?
None of my characters are based on me. I’m very boring. But it’s fun to imagine yourself as other people or in other situations and writing gives you the chance to do that.
9. A favourite author of mine makes herself write 1000 words a day - otherwise there is a consequence; do you do anything along those lines?
Wow! That’s good discipline! I’m not that strict with myself. And 1000 words would be two picture books! Picture book writers tend to spend a whole day worrying about whether to change or delete a single word. When you have only 300-400 words to tell a story, every word counts!
10. Are your characters derived from real people, or are they conjured from your imagination?
A combination of both really. They’re new imagined characters but they might have little characteristics ‘borrowed’ from people I know. Hopefully nobody would recognise themselves though! And sometimes working with an illustrator will help you develop a character. This definitely happened with Mrs Owen in this book. Howards drawings have added so much to her character. You just know that someone who wears those slippers is going to be a lovely person with a kind heart who likes a bit of fun