Tell me what inspired you to write fish boy?
Ooh I would say – a love of mysteriousness, the sea and David Attenborough!

What can you tell us about your second book?
It’s an adventurous road trip of you tube, self discovery and death avoidance with an awe inspiring scandinavian backdrop and fun bunch of characters.

How hard was it to get your first book published?
Actually I was lucky and things happened really fast for me.
I started my book on my writing MA and wrote it in my boys schools holidays.
A brilliant Northern Writers award gave me the time to write rather than work!
So I took the plunge and wrote it.
Then I met my agent (at the NWN summer talent soiree) and we sent it out in the spring and it went really well!

How many publishers turned you down?
The honest answer is I don’t know! (Because my agent deals with all that).
What happened was that in a couple of weeks after sending it out it went auction and then I had to decide who to choose!
It was really exciting and also a bit overwhelming/disorientating at times.
The night before I had to pick one of the publishers offered a BIG amount of money.
I remember ringing David Almond in the morning going what should I do? what should I do?

Do you try and read the online reviews you get on say Waterstones website?
Yeah – what people think is really important and I really appreciate it when people take the time to write reviews.
It means a lot when someone does that.
I remember reading my first one and feeling really moved by it.
The idea that what I had written affected someone.
It’s a great connection.
People like bloggers work really hard reading & writing reviews too and it’s amazing the work they do!!

Would you ever consider writing for adults or teens?
Sometimes I wonder if I’ll write for older people as my kids get older!
I’m always up for a challenge and I love reading YA so maybe.
I don’t like to rule anything out!
Plus I LOVE to experiment.

What did you do before becoming a writer?
I was an artist/designer & bookbinder running workshops with children and adults and communities.
I like helping and inspiring people to create something they didn’t think they could.
It’s really rewarding.
And fun!

Which author inspires you?
David Almond, Michael Rosen, Michelle Paver, Siobhan Dowd, Sarah Crossan (I know that isn’t one – but one is REALLY hard!)

Which genres do you read yourself?
I love reading children’s books!! MG, YA, poetry…
And unexpected books, that don’t fit easily in to categories.
I love those too!

What is your biggest motivator?
The idea that writing books is what I’m here to do on the earth!

What will always distract you?
My cats! But they also help too. I love writing with them curled up next to me.

How much say do you have in your book covers?
For Fish Boy quite a lot.
I LOVE this cover and it was a brilliant experience.
Faber really listened to my input – though a lot of it was just; I love this, it’s brilliant!

As a child were you a great reader?
I struggled with reading as my eyes skip around on the lines a lot and I found it hard.
So I was often a great imaginer!
But there were books I absolutely LOVED.
Like Michael Rosen and Terry Jones and Janet and Allan Ahlberg.
Plus choose your own adventures and interactive ones with dice and cards!

Which book shop is your favourite?
We’re so lucky to have two brilliant ones near me; Forum Books and Cogito.
They’re brilliant and I love them both.

What can you not resist buying?
Books that are beautiful & the Carnegie short list – the CILIP always make such brilliant selections.

Do you have any rituals on your writing days?
Lots of dark chocolate often.
& lists – different books for all the thoughts in my head to go.
One for household/family stuff.
One for the book I’m writing.
One for other thoughts!
In the winter I chop logs and get my wood burner going first thing too!

How many books in your own to be read pile?
TOO MANY! I’m a slow reader and it takes me ages.
Plus I like to savour things and mainly them read aloud to the family.
It’s great to be lost in a different world all together every day.

What is your current read?
Sky Song (with my youngest), Salt to the Sea (with my oldest) & Long Way Down (on my own!).

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