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  Advice to young authors and illustrators

 Claire Rosemary Jane |  Joan Aiken |  Philip Ardagh |  Val Biro |
 Malorie Blackman | Quentin Blake | Mark Burgess | David Clayton |
 Helen Cresswell | Peter Dickinson | Berlie Doherty | Anne Fine | Kes Gray |
 Pat Hutchins | Robert Leeson | Jonathon Long | Jan Mark | Alan Macdonald |
 Roger McGough | Barbara Mitchelhill | Tony Mitton | Miriam Moss | Hiawyn Oram  Philip Pullman | Hilary Robinson | Ragnhild Scamell | Nick Sharratt |
 Jeremy Strong | Rhian Tracey |  Chris White |  Gwyneth Williamson | Jacqueline Wilson

(Please note that the authors have contributed their comments but are not able to answer questions from readers unless they specifically say so below.)

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Barbara Mitchelhill - Interview (April 2003)

Q. How did you start writing?

A. I was born in Rochdale and trained as a teacher. I started writing for BBC TV and for children learning how to read. Now I live in Shropshire with two dogs.

Q. Why do you write?

A. I like writing because it's a flexible job. I can live in my head, make characters up and make them do all sorts of things — but sometimes they seem to do what they want to do — just like real people.

Q. You like dogs — do you write about them?

A. I have two dogs and I did write a book about one dog we had called Katie. The book was called "Home for a Dog".

Q. Where do you get your ideas? Do you have any tips?

A. Be inspired by what's around you. In the Eric books Eric is very like the boys I used to teach — not one particular boy but a mixture of lots of different boys.

Q. Do you like reading?

A. I have a houseful of books and love reading — you can't write if you don't read. I like all kinds of books — mysteries, facts, histories.

Q. What have you been writing recently?

A. I have just finished another in the Damian Drooth Supersleuth series. Look out for "How to be a Detective". There is a new Eric book out in August 2003: "Eric and the Peculiar Pong". It's about a perfume bottle with an odd effect.

Q. Do your readers ever give you ideas?

A. It was a schoolgirl who gave me the idea for, in "Eric and the Voice of Doom", Auntie Rose's present of a blanket.

Q. Is there anything your readers should know?

A. Look out for Eric on TV!

Barbara Mitchelhill's books at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

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Barbara Mitchelhill - Biography

Author of "Eric and the Voice of Doom" (illustrated by Bridget MacKeith), which was shortlisted in 2002-2003 for the Experian Big 3 Book Award

Barbara Mitchelhill was born and grew up in Lancashire. After training as a teacher, she taught English, Art and Drama in both comprehensive schools and primary schools. It was during this time that she began to write for BBC children's programmes and for educational publishers. She now works part-time as an editor for a small educational publisher and writes children's books the rest of the time.

Since giving up teaching to write full-time, she has written over a hundred books for children who are learning to read as well as books for older children.

Barbara is married with four grown-up daughters and lives in Shropshire with her husband and two dogs called Jack and Jeff.

Some of her books include:

"Eric and the Striped Horror" (1996)
"Eric and the Wishing Stone" (1999)
"Eric and the Pimple Potion" (2000)
"Eric and the Green-Eyed God" (2001)

The latest Eric book is "Eric and the Voice of Doom" and the next book will be "Eric and the Peculiar Pong", to be published in August 2003 by Andersen Press.

"Damian Drooth, Supersleuth - and the Case of the Disappearing Daughter" (2000)
"Damian Drooth, Supersleuth - and the Case of the Pop Star's Wedding" (2002) both illustrated by Tony Ross

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2003-2006 Kids on the Net and the authors        Last revised 13-May-2006
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