A. I've taught in universities since I was in my early twenties
Q. Favorite job
A. Teaching! I love helping people to write their novels
Q. High school and/or college
A. Woodham Comprehensive School in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham - and then Lancaster University, where I studied English Literature and Creative Writing
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
A. David Bowie
Q. Favorite movie
A. Harold and Maude
Q. Favorite television show
A. Doctor Who
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. Reading, writing, encouraging others to read and write
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Get on with it!
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Getting enough writing done in a day... feeding the cat... sitting in the garden with my partner Jeremy. Reading for a while. Cooking dinner. Having friends round. Going out to dinner. Watching one of my favourite old tv shows till late at night. Just ordinary, daily stuff.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. People close to me being ill.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. A park, I think. I love Central Park in New York, the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Regent's Park in London, and The Luxemburg Gardens in Paris
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Robin Hood. I've no idea why. The character always appealed to me.
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Anne Tyler - my favourite novelist
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. What's next?
Q. What do you regret most?
A. Not keeping a diary more consistently
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. I wish I could play the piano.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Getting to be a writer.
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. Talking too much.
Q. What’s your best quality?
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. Something with a better memory than me.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I talk a lot - but I listen a lot, too
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Doctor Who
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Cruella De Ville in 101 Dalmations
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Lewis Carroll. I'd thank him for writing the book that I can't imagine never having read. 'Alice's Adventures' is probably the book that has filled my head more than any other.
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Reading mystery novels
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. 'You Can Do Magic' - Limmie and the Family Cooking; 'Life on Mars?' - David Bowie; 'Strange Boy' - Joni Mitchell; 'Jilted John' - Jilted John; 'Come Up and See Me' - Cockney Rebel.
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Anne Tyler, Roald Dahl, Terrance Dicks, Malcolm Hulke, Susan Cooper, Angela Carter
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper; A Room with a View - EM Forster; The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald; Saint Maybe - Anne Tyler; Doctor Who and the Daemons - Barry Letts.
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. Carrie's War, by Nina Bawden - which should be on my list of top 5 as well.
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Stop thinking it isn't good enough and get to the end before you start mucking it about!