I haven’t been blogging in a while as I’ve been very busy starting secondary school, but I’ve got a very exciting comeback here-an interview with Helen Moss!
Helen Moss, whose books feature a lot on my site, has very kindly agreed to answer some of my questions related to writing children’s books!
Here are my questions and her answers….
1. How did you become an author?
“I didn’t start being an author until about seven years ago. Before that I was a scientist for many years. I did research into how our brains understand and remember language. It was great fun, but I always enjoyed making up stories (I used to write lots of stories and plays when I was a kid). I moved to America for a year with my family and when I came back it seemed like a great chance to try something new instead of going back to my old job. I thought I’d try writing a book and give it a year to see if I was getting anywhere; if not, I’d go back to being a scientist. Luckily I was able to find a fantastic agent and was taking my first steps on the way to having a book published just in time. I feel very lucky as I’ve had two of the best jobs in the world – scientist and writer.”
2. How do you get your ideas?
“It’s mainly a case of catching ideas as they whizz past. I always have my eyes and ears open for intriguing stories or snippets of stories. I might hear something on the radio or see it in the paper or even just hear people talking on the bus or in a cafe (I’m very nosy). Then I put lots of different bits together and mix them up to make them into something new.”
3. How much do you write in a day?
“It very much depends which stage of a book I’m at. I might be doing research and planning, or editing a draft. At other times I’m doing school visits or other publicity things. But when I’m working on the first draft of a book, I try to write about 1500 words a day (which is about the length of an Adventure Island chapter). In fact, to end up with that many words on the page, I’ve probably written 10 times as many and deleted them. I’m very indecisive when I write and change things around a lot as I go along until I’m happy with it.”
4. What’s the best thing about being an author?
“The best thing is getting to make up stories and always having something to be thinking about. The other best thing is when people say that they have enjoyed reading the books.”
5.What’s the worst thing about being an author?
“Sometimes you have to finish things by a deadline and if you’re stuck on a tricky bit – like a plot that won’t quite work out – then it can get quite stressful, because it just goes round and round in your head. But deadlines are also good, because without them, then it would be tempting to just give up when the story isn’t working too well – and there is always a way through in the end if you just keep working at it.”
6. Why do you write books for children?
“I was a massive bookworm when I was a child (I still am) and now it really makes me happy to think that I might be able to recreate the joy of being lost in a book that I used to feel. It’s still one of my favourite feelings – when you have a really good book on the go and all day you are looking forward to when you can get back to it! And then reading just one more chapter and one more . . . my goal in life is to keep children up past their bedtimes reading my books!”
7. What books did you like when you were young?
“I loved reading mystery and adventure stories so Enid Blyton was a big favourite. But I also enjoyed animal stories like Watership Down and The Incredible Journey. And I enjoyed historical books like The Wool Pack and spooky stories like The Owl Service – actually I liked reading most things!”
Thank you so much to Helen for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions.
Check out Helen’s website here, it is very interesting and gives an insight into the mind of a famous author 🙂