I was asked by the splendid Liz Flanagan, to answer these questions and think about my writing process. She answered the same questions and you can read her very interesting responses here.
What am I working on?
Just now? The Story Adventure – which this time around centres on a ghost story of 11,000 words, written with the collaboration of lots of children, inside a bigger story – a novel set in the world of Bywater by Sea. That’s the new work in progress, but I’m also looking at proofs for Saving Sophia, a book out with Nosy Crow in July, and edits of The Yoghurt Plot, a time travelling feast for Sara O’Connor at Hot Key Books so I’m a busy creature – but then that’s what I like to be.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I don’t know how my work differs, except that I can’t hold on to long stories in my head, so my work tends to be short and snappy. It has to funny, or at least a little funny, otherwise I don’t enjoy writing it. I think every writer has their own unique perspective, so unless they’re trying to sound like someone else, they tend to sound like themselves, but edited.
Why do I write what I do?
I write children’s books because I suspect I’ve never really left my 11 year old former me. She was fairly sensible, and I think, still guides much of what I do. She saw the absurd in people, which is something I find makes life a great deal more pleasant. She wasn’t terribly good at writing though, so I think I’m a more literate cipher for my illiterate self.
How does my writing process work?
I force myself to write what is, truly, mostly incoherent and sketchy outlines of what I feel a chapter should be like. As I write on, I return to earlier chapters and fill them out, like pushing air into a balloon. Ultimately I really enjoy the editing process, the way the choice of words makes the timbre of the chapter swing this way or another, the twisting of characters, the shortening or lengthening of suspense but the original writing process can be very awkward and uncomfortable.
The next authors to answer these questions on their own blogs, and posting on the 17th February – two wonderful people who I know not just because we are all children’s writers and live in the Avon Valley, but because our children all went to the same tiny Primary School.
As well as being a mother, Maudie is the author of the wonderful Opal Moonbaby trilogy – oh yes, trilogy, the third of which has just been published. Opal Moonbaby is a “touching story, deliciously tinged with magic,” according to Julia Eccleshare, and I agree. You can find Maudie’s blog here – and her website here
Catherine is a writer, a journalist, a mother AND a teacher. Her first two books for young teens, We can be Heroes, and POP gained excellent reviews, and I really enjoyed, them. Her third, I Predict a Riot will be on the bookstands anytime soon – I’m looking forward to it. You can find her blog here, and her website, here.