Your questions answered – favourite books, coming up with ideas and Psycho Chicken!

I’ve had a couple of questions emailed to me over the last week, so I thought I’d answer them here in the blog.

First up, is a question from Asmitha, who is a pupil at Air Balloon Hill Primary School where I am Patron of Reading.

She asks two questions:

A quick sketch of what Psycho Chicken used to look like. Well, when she wasn’t being a zombie, robot or were-hen that is…

1. When did you actually start writing?

Well, I started writing stories when I was at primary school, Asmitha, always scribbling away in exercise books. One of the first stories I ever wrote was the story of a band of brave heroes fighting an evil hen called Psycho Chicken! Actually, I used to write about Psycho Chicken a lot! She kept changing with every story. She started life as a robot hen, but became a zombie and a vampire and even, if I remember rightly, even a were-chicken!

I wonder if I should start writing stories about the batty old bird again? What do you think?

I began writing professionally when I joined Future Publishing in 1995, writing freelance reviews for various magazines.

My first piece of published fiction was a short story called ‘Christmas Spirit’ which I co-wrote with my friend Mark Wright. That was published in 2000.

2. What’s your favourite book that you written?

That’s a really tough question, Asmitha. I like them all for different reasons. I’m quite proud of my new Skylanders book, Time Twisters, because it’s something a bit different – a story that’s linked together with puzzles and comics, but ask me tomorrow and I’ll probably change my mind again.

I also heard from Mason, who asked:

How long does it take to come up with ideas for books?

That’s a really good question, Mason, and again, quite difficult to answer. Basic ideas can come quite quickly, but then it can take  a while to develop the idea into a storyline. Usually, I find that ideas come easier if I’m not trying to hard to think about them. The best ideas come when I’m going for a walk, or doing the washing up or even watching football.

Keep the questions coming. Either email me using the Contact Me box above or leave a comment below.

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