What started you writing?
I started writing when I was a teenager. I always
read a lot, and I felt it was a bit selfish to read and read and not throw
anything back into the pot! Reading has always been my greatest, most
What was the first book you remember falling
in love with?
Definitely "Five on a Treasure Island" by Enid
Blyton. It is the first of the Famous Five series and I think I've read
them all 4,000 times!
What are you reading now?
Now I'm reading "Caleb's Crossing" by Geraldine
Brooks. I especially love books based on historical facts.
Which writers do you feel have influenced you
Enid Blyton, W. Somerset Maugham, Jane Austen and
J.K. Rowling. All these authors were brilliant in very different ways.
They each had the gift of telling you a really interesting story - creating
a whole new world for you to experience - without upsetting, shocking
or offending their readers, and they had great respect for our beautiful
What three words would you use to describe
Zoltan & the 31st Century?
Futuristic, plausible and interesting!
What are you working on next?
I'm currently writing a story about a family who
move to Melbourne.
Will David/Zoltan appear in another novel?
How would you encourage children to read -
especially children who don't like to?
All children - people - love stories, whether they
enjoy reading or not. Story telling, and hearing or reading stories, satisfies
a mysterious element of the human condition. We are insatiably interested
in each other, and use stories to check our own progress through life
against what other people are doing. These days we have audio books so,
if reading is difficult, we can hear stories read to us. I want to make
Zoltan available as an audio book, too. For people who are vision impaired
(like Helene in the story) or have dyslexia (like my daughter), this is
a wonderful way to enjoy stories.
What book do you wish you had written and why?
I wish I had written "A History of the World" which
was written by J.M. Roberts. Then I would be a really brainy person and
have a great office at Oxford University! This is actually one of the
best written, most interesting stories I have ever read - and it was all
true! Truth truly is stranger than fiction.
If you could be any fictional character who
would you be?
I think I would be Hermione Granger in the Harry
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you
have any unusual writing habits?
Well, I have a very short attention span, so I
like to work in spurts. I guess I'm a spurt-worker. I get up early and
make the lunches and breakfast (sometimes French toast or pancakes - my
favourite!) and when everyone has gone off to school or uni (at least,
that's where they say they are going!), I start by editing what I wrote
yesterday. Then have a coffee-break, then write for another hour; then
take our dog for a walk; then write some more; and so on, through the
day. I find that unless I have some physical activity every couple of
hours, my brain becomes sluggish and so does my writing, so I try to avoid
sitting in front of the computer for longer than 90 minutes at a time.
When a book is being printed, which is very exciting, I will talk to the
printers and the artist and the web-designer regarding various elements
of the book we are producing.
Other than writing, what are you good at?
I have been teaching myself how to cook sweet things,
which I hadn't done much of previously, and I now bake a pretty good chocolate
brownie, actually! I'm also a talented talker and excellent eater.
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