How I became a writer
I've always made up stories. When I was a child, I did it in my head - usually using characters from my favourite TV programmes. But I never saw it as a possible career especially as I never liked English at school. Perhaps I was already too much a writer at heart to enjoy dissecting other people's stories.
So I left school and became a maths teacher which I didn't enjoy very much. Then I left teaching and became a mother which I loved. Finally, in the time left over from mothering, I became a writer which I found was enormous fun.
You can see a video of me talking about writing on youtube.
New writers are often advised to 'write what they know' and that's certainly how I started. My first book, A Special Child in the Family, was triggered by my own experiences parenting two sons with cystic fibrosis and so was my first non-fiction children's book, The Hospital Highway Code. My maths and science background still shows in my other non-fiction writing, and my life-long passion for horses helped me write The Pony-Mad Princess and There Must Be Horses.
I love making people laugh and my sense of humour often creeps into my writing. That's probably why I enjoyed writing for The Knowledge, Scholastic's non-fiction series which is well known for its jokey way of presenting serious information. It's definitely why I like writing scripts for animation - cartoon stories are usually played for laughs so I can put in as many jokes as I like.
My sense of humour also had a big influence on Amy Wild - Animal Talker - a series I think of as a sitcom for children. I invented the cats first and for several years that was as far as I got. They were characters in search of a story. Then I thought of Amy and the island where she lives, and suddenly the cats had found a home.