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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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Helen Cresswell

Kids on the Net was very sad to learn that on Wednesday September 28, 2005: Helen Cresswell died of cancer at her home in Eakring, Nottinghamshire, at the age of 71. She was a wonderful writer and encouraged many young writers.


Q. What advice would you give to a young writer?

A. Get yourself a notebook and try to write something, however short, every single day. Any writer under God's sun must read, read, read!

Q. What are your favourite children's authors?

A. I read Walter de la Mare, Eleanor Farjean, Enid Blyton when I was a child.

Q. How old were you when you wrote your first book?

A. When I wrote my first book which was a story in chapters I was 8 years old: when I wrote one to be published I was 24 years old!

Q. What kind of stories do I like to write?

A. Two main kinds: one is fantasy like timeslips such as Moondial and Stonestruck, and the other is funny books like the 10 books about the Bagthorpes, who are a modern funny family.

Q. Did your love of walking through graveyards inspire Moondial?

A. I've had some spooky experiences in graveyards, yes…

Q. What gives you inspiration?

A. It could come anywhere at any time: I've had ideas from watching Blue Peter (The Bongleweeds), newspaper articles (Piemakers) and from visiting a place like Belton House (Moondial).

Q. How did you react when you knew your first book was to be published?

A. Beforehand I thought it would be THE most important day of my life. As it happened I was in bed with gastric flu being very very sick! My mother brought me up this letter which I couldn't be bothered to open at first. When I opened it and took in the news, I said: "This is the best day of my life and I wish I were dead!"

Q. What was your first published book?

A. A bad question! It's worth £30-40 now if you can find a copy -- but it was "Sonya-By-The-Shore". It's embarrassing now to think of it.

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