Q. Which other EAFOL 2016 participant are you most excited about?
I bet at least 90% of other authors are saying ‘all of them’. So I’d better not say that. Even though I’d really like to, because firstly I’m very indecisive and secondly I’m a complete wimp and don’t want to upset anybody. So I’ll say Ian Rankin. Because he lives about a mile away from where I live, but we’ve never met. (Actually we have, but for the purposes of this answer I’ll pretend that we haven’t). Also, Jacqueline Wilson because she’s an absolute goddess. Also Lauren Child and Lauren St John because they’re both called Lauren and the potential for comedy is limitless. And also Robert Lindsay. Why? Because he’s Robert Lindsay.
Q. Which book(s) are you reading now?
The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien. Again. And I don’t normally reread books, no matter how brilliant they are. Because there are a gazillion other books out there that I still haven’t read once. But I made an exception with this one, to see whether it was as funny and utterly bonkers as I remember. And it’s not. It’s even funnier and even more bonkers than I remember.
Q. Which literary character would you invite to dinner? And why?
Winnie The Pooh. Because I’d like to show him that there’s more to life than honey. Not that there’s anything wrong with honey – or hunny – as he would write it. Au contraire. I’m a big fan of honey. But it’s important to vary your diet and make sure it’s nutritionally balanced. So I think I’d cook him a nice veggie curry. Actually that’s not true. I’d probably phone for a takeaway. So we’ve got more time to chat. Obviously.
Q. There have been some interesting additions to the dictionary over the years. Which word would you remove?
‘Outwith’. And ‘comfort zone’. Although that’s two words. And the phrase ‘outwith my comfort zone.’ Can I also ban people starting every other sentence with ‘You know what?’. And interviewees on TV & radio beginning their answers with ‘So…’?
Q. Who would write/ illustrate the story of your life?
To write it? Hmmm. John Irving. Because I like the way he writes about other people’s lives. And to illustrate it? Charles Tunnicliffe, who illustrated many of the classic Ladybird books. And if he wasn’t available (he’s not, by the way, in case anyone’s wondering) then either Sir John Tenniel, the original illustrator of Alice in Wonderland, or E. H. Shepard who illustrated the aforementioned Winnie the Pooh.