It took me ages before I knew what FAQ meant, so for those of you who don’t already know, it’s Frequently Asked Questions.
I visit lots of schools and libraries and some questions come up all the time, so I’ll attempt to answer some of them here;
Q. Where do you get your inspiration?
A. Real life! Scarily enough, almost everything Magenta gets up to has happened to me, or my family or my friends. I just exaggerate and expand on them. The beginning of Blaggers where Laverne tells Big Al to drop dead and he does really happened with my own grandparents – oops! And the Star Wars funeral in Diamond Geezers was based on a real life Star Trek themed funeral! They always say fact is stranger than fiction!
Q. Who were your favourite authors as a child?
A. Eeek! I’m always embarrassed when I’m asked this because I didn’t read very much as a child. Reading’s always been quite difficult for me (and it still is because I’m dyslexic) so I don’t remember actually reading a whole book until I was in my 20s. No wonder I failed English Literature O level – twice!
Q. Which authors do you read now?
A. I make a real effort to read now because it’s very important for my work and, like everything else in life, the more you do it the easier it gets. I actually enjoy the stories – it’s just the technical problems with breaking down the words that’s a pain for me. I love books that are constructed in an unusual way such as The English Passengers by Matthew Kneal, which is written in the first person from the point of view of over twenty different characters and The Accidental by Ali Smith, which is another book that’s written from several different characters’ perspectives. Probably my favourite author at the moment is Hilary Mantel.
Q. What would you like to be if you weren’t a writer?
A. I love writing and think it’s the best job in the world but, if I had to do something else, I’d like to be a set designer for films or the theatre. I’d definitely have to do something creative.