You can run wild with the imagination in a children's story and anything is possible.
I start with an unusual idea which often comes totally out of the blue and it quickly forms the entire story in my head. Then I spend a long time turning the whole thing into verse, which has to conjure up a vision for the reader and cannot just rhyme for the sake of it. Each story has to be left for weeks maybe months then re-read and tweaked slightly here and there until I feel it is just right.
People find it amazing that an entire story can be written in verse. I think it makes the whole thing more fun to read and I try to put a little humor in here and there too.
As a child I wrote mostly poetry which had to rhyme. In recent years I decided to write exclusively for young children because you can think outside the box and sometimes there is no box at all.
I live in a beautiful English village with a bearded man and a cat called Humphrey. Spare time is for growing flowers and trees, baking cakes or designing and knitting quirky things. I can often be found sitting in auction rooms where I like to buy old and interesting pieces of furniture to bring home and enjoy.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J M Barrie. I loved this story, as it was like being let into a secret. Everyone knows the Disney version of Peter Pan as a boy but hardly anyone knows how he started life as a bird in the Kensington Gardens and lived with fairies. J M Barrie must have had a wonderful imagination.
I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory over and over as a child and loved the craziness of it. The amazing sweets that were invented in the factory were something else. Roald Dhal is so very talented!
Alice in Wonderland is completely out of this world and I read the book, enjoyed the Johnney Deape film and recently saw an amazing version of the ballet. I can't say I have the tee-shirt but better than that I had the tea party last summer and all my friends came dressed as characters and we had afternoon tea. That story so inspired me.
The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night was a touching and educating story about an autistic boy and I learned lots from this. It was so well written,informative, funny,sad and unputdownable.
Describe your desk
I sit at a big farmhouse table in the dining room which overlooks the gardens, a stream and woodland. It is a place I am most happy to be at. There is always a pile of magazines I want to read and torn out articles from papers and receipes I intend to cook. There are lots of to do lists with tasks still waiting to be done. The drawer is full of pens, a large magnifying glass, packets of seeds and things I need to find quickly. My laptop is right there with a large mug of Earl Grey tea next to it in the day and a large crystal glass of a good red wine if it is late at night.
It is Christmas Eve and Peter is given a special present that he cannot wait to open. It is a magical book about a circus and as he turns each page, the characters step out of the book and come to life in his bedroom. He has the most wonderful night, juggling with clowns, doing magic and walking the tight rope!