Huge thanks to Brave author Wendy Constance, who’s taking on the 5-4-3-2-1 questions today! Tickets are on sale now for Wendy’s Imagination Tasters workshops at Essex Book Festival on Sunday 20th March, which look really great! (Also I love that she’s running one for adults and another for children – such a fab idea!)
FIVE authors you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island
I thought if I have five authors with me on the island I won’t be lonely. We can take it in turns to tell stories round the camp fire.
Anyone who tweets, “I’m back from Mongolia! I climbed mountains, saw wolves, galloped through valleys & learnt to hunt with a golden eagle” is a must friend on a desert island, so Abi Elphinstone you’re in.
Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell (those 2 names go together surely) I’ll be happy to sharpen sticks for Chris draw with in the sand
The witty and erudite Sandi Toksvig will keep our minds sharp, such a good wordsmith and so much knowledge.
We can all help Joanne Harris build the brilliant Sheds she imagines and shares via Twitter. And I believe she is in a band, so we can have sing-songs round the camp fire too.
FOUR books you’d save from a burning bookcase
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell – my copy is signed ‘To Wendy, Best Wishes, Chris Riddell’, when I bought it at an Essex Book Festival event, the day before finding out I’d won the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2013
My Special 10th Anniversary Edition of I, Coriander by Sally Gardner
A 1930s copy of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan and Wendy (an obvious choice for somebody called Wendy), bought for me from an antiquarian bookshop.
The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley, probably late 1940s, with a birthday message inside to my older sister who is no longer with us.
THREE pieces of advice you’d give yourself if you could travel back in time to before you became a published author
Find out as much as possible about publicising yourself and your book before it’s published, as publishers tend to do less of this now, particularly for debut authors.
When you think you’ve finished editing your manuscript, file it away for at least a week – then read again and you’ll want to make more edits
Read even more, across different genres
TWO places you love to read
In bed, on my own, with nobody to complain about the light being on or how late it is.
On a long train journey, though I may allow myself to be distracted and start talking to another passenger if I’m feeling chatty and want to join in an interesting conversation
ONE actor who’d have roles in a film about your childhood (and who they’d play)
Hayley Mills as a child actor, playing me as a child, because I was told I looked like her. (apologies to everybody who is too young to know who Hayley Mills is – she’s a bit older than me and was a child star in the late 1950s/early 60s)
After a career in textile design in the 1970s/80s I started writing the stories that had always whirled around my head. At first writing had to be squeezed between work and bringing up my son as a single parent, but gradually there was more time to hone my writing skills.
I won the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2013. Brave (historical adventure set in the Stone Age world of spears, mammoths and sabre-toothed cats) was published April 2014 by Chicken House.
After 34 years in Yorkshire I moved back to Essex in 2010 and now work part-time at Essex University as a Notetaker for students with disabilities, allowing plenty of writing time. I have several writing works-in-progress, my imagination roaming from ideas for picture books through to YA.
Winner of The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2013
Debut novel Brave published April 2014