Frequently asked questions
How many books have you written?
More than 40. I've also written lots of articles, a pantomime and five scripts for animation.
How long does it take to write a book?
That depends on the length and how easily I think up the plot. A short chapter book for children, like the ones about Amy Wild or Princess Ellie, usually takes 2-3 months. Picture books are quicker - they are very short and take about 2 weeks to actually write, although it often takes months to come up with an idea that will work.. But full length novels take longer, especially if I go wrong and have to start again. There Must Be Horses took well over a year, but there was a lot else going on in my life at the time so I kept having to stop. Plots and Plotting has taken over a year too, but I'm hoping to write Scenes and Sentences a bit faster as I've already worked out what topics I want to cover.
Where do you get your ideas from?
Almost anything can trigger ideas - items in newspapers and on TV, things that have happened to me, things that have happened to other people. If I'm stuck, I go for a walk or read a book about creating plots to get me thinking. The best ideas often come when I'm not really trying. One day I had the best idea I'd ever had while I was having a shower, but I'd forgotten it by the time I got out!
Are you famous?
I don't know. I think my books are better known than I am.
Do you know any other authors?
Yes, lots. Writing can be a lonely profession so it's good to get together with other authors, face-to-face or online.
Are you going to write any more Princess Ellie books?
I don't think so. Princess Ellie's Perfect Plan is the last of the series.
Are you going to write any more Amy Wild books?
Maybe. I'm hoping I'll be asked to write some more if the latest two sell well.
What are you writing now?
I'm working on an idea for a brand new series about horses. I've worked out lots of detail and am just about to start writing the first book so I can show it to my publisher. I've got my fingers crossed that they'll like it enough to publish it.
What are you going to write after that?
I'm not sure. I might finish a book about algebra that I've already started. Or maybe I should write a sequel for There Must Be Horses - lots of people have asked for one. Or I might write something completely different. Having all those ideas buzzing around my head is part of the fun of being a writer.
Why did you decide to switch to self-publishing?
Publishing has changed a lot since I first became an author. Back then, self publishing didn't really work because it was very expensive, and it was almost impossible to get the books into bookshops. Now, thanks to the digital revolution, the cost of publishing has dropped dramatically, and the internet has made selling the books easier too. I'm thoroughly enjoying self publishing. It's faster and I enjoy being able to choose my own editor and make my own decisions about the cover. But I'm still happy to work with a traditional publisher if that is best for a particular book. .
Do you have a horse of your own?
Yes, His name is Kubus, and he's a Haflinger. This picture was taken in the winter when he has a thick, shaggy coat. In the summer, his coat is more golden.
Do you have any other pets?
Just a cat, although he's not really ours. He belongs to the people next door, but he's decided to live in our house. I don't think cats think they belong to anyone - they think we belong to them.
What's your favourite colour?
How old are you?
I'm a lot older than many of my readers. I was born soon after the Second World War and was a teenager when the Beatles were everyone's favourite. I even saw them perform live. Twice!