May I start by saying what marvellous questions these are...
1) What was your favourite character from a book as a child?
Hmmm, that's tricky as I had a few favourite characters, but I do have a real soft spot for Grandma Swap from Janet and Allan Ahlberg's Cops and Robbers. She's a naughty nan and part of the Robbers gang and *SPOILER* while all the other robbers get rounded up by the heroic PC Pugh, Grandma Swag creeps away and keeps up to her old tricks.It's so sneaky, using the fact that no one is looking at the old lady to her advantage, like Miss Marple and maybe another nana.....Brilliant!
2) What’s your favourite character from a book you have written?
Hmmmm, also tricky as I have a few favourite characters of my own. Obviously Bad Nana deserves a mention as I explained in the last answer and I want to be her when I grow up. But I have to say Pizazz has a very special place in my heart. I can remember being 9 ish so vividly, starting to grow up a bit and realising all the stuff about fitting in and standing out and finding your gang and all that. It's really hard, great too obviously, but there are tough situations to negotiate. That's why I created Pizazz, I mean I found it tough enough to fit in myself and I wasn't even slightly a super hero in a super heroes costume with a super heroes name. I am really enjoying writing about her and watching her learn through the tricky situations and getting stuff wrong, and keeping on!
3) What job would you want to do if you weren’t an author, and have you always wanted to be an author?
Well, I think I have but I did other things first because I don't think I thought I was a good enough writer to be an author. So I went to fashion college which I enjoyed but I just wasn't fashionable enough! And then I worked in advertising which was fun and taught me a lot about putting words and pictures together cleverly, so that together they say much more than either could on their own. Then I illustrated and designed for Paperchase. Then FINALLY (when I was a mummy) I admitted I would like to be an author/illustrator and went back to school and wrote and illustrated my first book while I was there. So it took a while, but nothing was wasted as everything I have done helps me write and illustrate now!
4) Did you like writing stories as a child?
I did. I LOVED mystery stories when I was little and actually I still do now. And I quite clearly remember getting a snazzy new clipboard one christmas ( I think I was about 9 or 10) and deciding that that clipboard was going to be the thing I wrote my first ever murder mystery on. Sadly I only got as far as page one because I rather over complicated it, but it was an action packed page!!! But I have always liked writing and drawing.
5) In Pizazz her superpower is a glitter storm, if you could have a super power what would it be?
I know it's boring but I would have flying, I mean FLYING!!!!! It would just be so AMAZING. But if, like Pizazz, flying was sort of like my standard super power and I had a more spectacular extra one, maybe we could incorporate my love of tap dancing into it somehow....tap a tsunami?
6) When coming up with books do you start with the pictures or the writing?
I usually start with pictures, specifically pictures of characters. Then I try to work out what that character's story is, or maybe I imagine dropping them into a situation that I think has lots of potential for laughs or a great story. Then I let that story play out in my head, a bit like a little movie, where I follow them around and see what they get up to. And that is how some of my stories start, it just LOOKS like I am staring at the ceiling!!
7) How do you first get your ideas for your books?
Well, sometimes it's the way I described above or sometimes I remember something about my childhood, or my daughter's childhood and that will start an idea. OR maybe I am on the train and I over hear something brilliant and that starts a story. Basically ideas for books can come from anywhere, the trick is to be looking and listening when the arrive!
8) Since your books are so funny, at school were you a really good kid or the class joker?
Well, THANK YOU! That is the best thing to hear! Hmmmm, I think I was a little bit of both. When I was younger I was very VERY shy and was a good student. Then when I got older and bit more confident I think I was still mainly good, but I would enjoy a giggle (the one where you are in a situation where your absolutely must NOT giggle - THE BEST!), but probably not so much I was the class joker.
9) My favourite joke is, Why did the man with one hand cross the road? To get to the second hand shop! What’s your favourite joke?
THAT is a brilliant joke. I like "There are two cannibals eating a clown and one says to the other..."Does this taste funny to you?"'
10) Pizazz is often embarrassed by her superpower, what’s your most embarrassing moment?
You are absolutely right when you say that Pizazz is embarrassed by her super power but I am very much hoping she gets to a point where that is not the case. And in that vein I try not let anything embarrass me too much. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself down and move on!