A recommended autobiographical feature:
You have to be slightly obsessive to be a successful writer. I nearly always write first thing when I get up, and will even get up half an hour earlier on Christmas Day to get something down. I have rare moments of inspiration where I know what I’m going to write next, but mostly I just plod along and twist the words around until something works.
Ideally, I like to write 1,000 words per day. When you do that, you can get two books a year done, easily. I was only going to write 100 books, but I don’t want to stop now so I will probably keep writing forever.
I don’t write about teenage girls now because I don’t know how to get the tone right. Social media and the pressure on girls to do things like sending topless photos is really worrying. Normally I get into the characters’ heads, but if I was to do that with a 15-year-old girl, the adult in me would want to interfere. I wouldn’t want to write a preachy book.
Success was a complete surprise, but now I’m very competitive and want my books to do well. It’s the children’s response that means the most. I get a special kick when the kid who ‘hates reading because it’s boring’ loves the books. The latest book is about a child who doesn’t get the opportunity to be a bridesmaid, so she puts an ad up in the newsagent for people to hire her and gets to go to several different weddings.
I’ve learned not to worry so much. My marriage broke up and I had a few health problems, but I just got on with it. The other things I obsessed about mostly didn’t happen, so it was such a waste of time worrying.