This week we’re celebrating World Book Day (yes we’re making it last a week), with a look at the £1 books available to children with book tokens, yesterday. Today an interview with an author and on Monday another book review for you.
Please let us introduce Sue Purkiss. Sue is a children’s author. She lives in Somerset with her husband and puppy. We got in contact with her to find out a little more about what goes on in the life of an author.
When did you start writing?
I think I’ve always written off and on, but I didn’t start doing it seriously till I enrolled on a part-time course in creative writing at Bristol University – almost twenty years ago now!
When did you realise it was something you were good at?
I always found writing easy, and I enjoyed writing stories and such at school – but I never thought I could actually write a book. I thought that was something other people did! I did English at university – but that was academic writing, which is very different from writing fiction. Then I kept a diary off and on – more off than on – and wrote the occasional short story or descriptive piece.
But it was the Bristol course that really got me going. There were sections on different kinds of writing, and a lovely children’s writer called Vivian French taught the children’s writing module. She was very enthusiastic about my writing, and she encouraged me to have a serious go at it. It all went from there.
Where do you like to write? Do you lock yourself away for months on end?
I have a lovely writing shed in the garden, and I get into it whenever I can. How long I spend in it depends really on what I’m writing and what stage it’s at. It’s not all about just writing – there’s a lot of thinking and planning and researching and doodling to be done too.
Who was your favourite author as a child?
I first got Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings out of the library when I was about 13, and I read it about once a year after that for ages. When I was small we had a lot of Ladybird books – I learnt to read with those; Mum and Dad read them so often I eventually realised I knew what the words said.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
All over the place. Sometimes from things that have happened, sometimes from places, sometimes from stories from the past – sometimes from non-fiction books, or form pictures I’ve seen in art galleries.
How many books have you had published? What are they called?
You’ll find a list of some of the books I’ve had published here . I’ve also recently had some retellings published by Harper Collins – one of Black Beauty and one of The Ancient Mariner, and there’s another one in the pipeline.
Are you currently writing anything?
I’ve just been revising something I wrote a while ago. I’m still thinking about what I’m going to write next!
If you had to read one book to children which would you choose and why?
If it was to small children, it would be Jill Murphy’s Peace At Last – about Mr Bear, who can’t get to sleep. The words and pictures go together perfectly – it’s a wonderful book to read aloud.