I’d like to thank Lou Kuenzler for passing the baton on to me. You will find her wildly delicious blog if you click HERE.

What am I working on?

I’m tempted to say I’m working on a tacky formica top, but that’s probably not the answer you’re looking for, is it? What I suspect you really want to hear about is my work as a writer, not the surfaces upon which I write. Pity. You’re missing out there.

I write picture books, and my latest story involves a little boy called Ben who loves Christmas Day so much that he makes a wish, that it will stay forever. The fairy on the Christmas tree waves her wand and Ben has about one week of Christmas Day heaven until he starts getting sick of the toys, the turkeys and the tinsel which, to be perfectly honest, usually happens to me after just ONE day of Christmas. The book is – and how I hate these pitching to a Hollywood producer phrases but I’m going to use one anyway – Christmas meets Groundhog Day with a heap of smelly Brussels sprouts thrown in for comic effect.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, my books are the only ones with my name on them. Will that do? I thought not. You want details, details, you are SO DEMANDING! Lou, why did you get me caught up in this maelstrom of self-analysis?

Ok. I’m back on the couch. Let me think. One of the things that perhaps sets me apart is my penchant for naughty characters who come out right in the end. In Nora, for example, a little girl gets sent to her room without any dinner and proceeds to eat everything in it, including her beloved toy teddy bear. (As you can see, I am a great lover of realism.) She then burps magnificently and the force of her oral expulsion propels her to the moon, which, as we all know and has been scientifically proven at least once and by scientists, is made of cheese. So, Nora is a very happy camper – or chomper – at the end.

Why do I write what I do?

The short answer is: I have to. That’s the long answer too if you were wondering.

Ever since I started writing, I wrote in verse and my stories were best suited to those under the tender age of about seven, although I have since learned that there are plenty of adults out there who like my stories too. This is perhaps because, like me, they all have the mental age of six year olds.

How does your writing process work?

Most of my best ideas come to me when I am out walking the streets of London or anywhere that hasn’t yet issued me with an ASBO. So, that’s basically one street in Elephant and Castle. The rest of the UK is out of bounds.

The rhythm of the walking is great for my verse writing, and being outside creates space in my mind (although a neurologist once told me that at least a hundred percent of it is pure space anyway). I sometimes get ideas from shop windows, sometimes from a half heard conversation in a café. Then I scrabble around desperately for a pen before the idea evaporates, find I haven’t got one, rush off to the nearest shop to buy an overpriced one, realise I have nothing to write ON, rush back to the aforementioned shop, take a mortgage out on an even more ridiculously priced sheet of A4, realise I have nothing to lean on, find a wall or a post box or anything with a hard surface (a passerby’s head if I am truly desperate) and write. So, as you can see, my writing process is all terribly well organised. Like the army.

Who’s on next?

Sounds like the title of a great sketch. Oops! It is! Anyway, next to take the baton from my sweaty palm will be the insanely wonderful author/illustrator Bridget Strevens-Marzo (click HERE). Bridget is the author and illustrator of well over a dozen picture books, and some activity books and graphic games for publishers in different countries.  Her next book out in France is a first word book with flaps and unidentifiable furry animals, oddly enough entitled Bridget's Book of English.  RIght now she is adding the finishing splodges to her picture book story, Tiz and Ott's Big Draw due out with Tate Publishing UK in 2015.  She also runs writing, art and illustration workshops for children and adults.

And the equally insane and wonderful Chitra Soundar (click HERE), who is the author of "A Dollop of Ghee and a Pot of Wisdom" from Walker Books and definitely loves using ghee in her Indian cooking. Since 2003 she has published over 20 titles for 3-10 year old children in many countries including US, UK, India and Singapore. Her latest book "Balu's Basket" was published by Tulika Books in India in five bi-lingual editions. Her next book "Farmer Falgu Goes On a Trip" is due to be out in April 2014. Along with writing, Chitra is also a storyteller and loves telling folktales from all over the world, with a special interest in South Asian tales. She lives in London where she works in a bank during the day and writes stories for children in her free time.  

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