1. What tools do you use to write your first draft? Do you write it in a notebook or do you do it straight on to a computer?
I have hardly written anything substantial in longhand since I left school. I use Scrivener to write my books, it’s good for organising chapters, but I still don’t really understand it. I have a notebook as well for scribbled plot maps which seldom mean anything the next day.
2. Do you take inspiration from other authors?
It’s probably impossible not to, although when I’m in the middle of writing, I find reading fiction quite distracting.
3. Out of all the books you have written who is your favourite character?
I think Grandpa Byron from Time Travelling With A Hamster, my first book. He seemed to arrive on the page, with this robes and his voice, and tell me, “You can invent characters like me!”
4. What do you do when you are not writing books?
I read them a lot! I also practice and read about magic tricks, I look after my (rather lovely, if I may say so) tropical aquarium, I play the piano, walk our dog, go for a run. And watch Netflix. (Too much Netflix!)
5. In the book When we got lost in Dreamland I liked the character Susan, is she based on a real person?
I had a very clever and sensible friend at school called Susan, so I think in part Susan Tenzin is based on her!
6. How long does it take to write a book from coming up with a great idea to publication?
Almost exactly a year. I’m now writing the book that will come out in January 2022.
7. What is your favourite food?
Curry. I know, that’s about as vague as saying “pie”. But I like pie as well. I cook a lot, mainly curries and pies.
8. Did lockdown give you a great opportunity to keep writing?
This whole pandemic has been distressing and disorienting and I have hated lockdown, but I can still work which is a privilege.
9. Have your books been translated into other languages? Have you ever visited any other countries to show off your books?
Yes! I think I’m now in fifteen foreign languages now. Most of the obvious ones, and some less-expected ones. Farsi. Albanian. I love thinking of people in some far-flung place reading about Geordie kids in Whitley Bay.