What are you most looking forward to at the 2016 Festival?
It’s going to be a terrific experience to be part of such a vibrant festival which has an extraordinary reputation worldwide. I can’t wait to meet such a thriving book-loving community – and to enjoy the hospitality for which Dubai is famous. It’s going to be great to be with so many fellow authors – and I would imagine that we will return from our time at the Festival with quite a few plot lines and ideas!!
When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 14 – school homework was to ‘Write the Opening of a Novel’. I wrote 38 chapters…
What book do you find yourself re-reading most often?
I don’t tend to re-read – as there are always so many books yet to be read. But each book I’ve read I always hope to reread one day. However, having children has enabled me to reread some of my favourite books from my own childhood: AA Milne, Roald Dahl, Astrid Lindgren, Ruby Fergusson, Barbara Sleigh, Judith Kerr…
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Oh my goodness – having been published for 20 years, I now doubt my ability to do anything but write. I don’t believe I’m remotely employable in any other job. However, if there was a career in dishwasher-stacking, I would never be without a job.
And finally, we have a number of aspiring writers attending the Festival. What one piece of advice would you give them?
There is no right or wrong way to write – each and every author finds their way. Don’t be demoralised if you hear other authors describing an approach that is nothing like yours. If your story is being told, you are doing the right thing. Just keep going. Oh – and don’t over-edit… that’s just procrastination. Just keep writing the entire book out of your system and then go back and fiddle and tweak.