I always jump at the chance to visit places I’ve never been before, to experience different cultures and have the chance to meet fellow authors, so it’s very exciting.
When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved books, always. And looking at the words and pictures and how they play together. I’m not sure there was ever a ‘moment’ as such, I’ve just always enjoyed drawing pictures that tell stories.
What book do you find yourself re-reading most often?
I don’t have a stand out favourite book and really, I don’t re-read many books simply because I have so many books I want to read (my reading pile is huge!). But I do have favourite authors who I like to revisit, knowing I’ll enjoy their ‘voice’, the characters, and the world they create. Recently, I have been dipping back into the work of Haruki Murakami and the crime writer John Connolly.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Hmm, tricky, I’d love to be able to play an instrument, to be a musician (despite my significant lack of ability). And I’m drawn to the idea of being a wildlife cameraman (although I think my kids would laugh if they heard me say that). I’m not sure I’d be very good in a 9-5 job.
And finally, we have a number of aspiring writers attending the Festival. What one piece of advice would you give them?
When I visit schools and children say ‘how do you get to draw like that?’ I say ‘practise’. It’s like learning a musical instrument or a sport; the more you practise the better you get. And I’m a great believer in forming habits. If drawing or writing everyday becomes a habit, your skills and ability will improve surprisingly quickly. So carry a sketchbook or a notepad and try to get in the habit of creating something (however small), every day.