Most adults, unlike most children, understand the difference between a book that will hold them spellbound for a rainy Sunday afternoon and a book that will put them in touch with a part of themselves they didn't even know existed.
All the other children at my school are stupid. Except I'm not meant to call them stupid, even though this is what they are.
Writing for children is bloody difficult; books for children are as complex as their adult counterparts, and they should therefore be accorded the same respect.
When I was writing for children, I was writing genre fiction. It was like making a good chair. However beautiful it looked, it needed four legs of the same length, it had to be the right height and it had to be comfortable.
At 20, 25, 30, we begin to realise that the possibilities of escape are getting fewer. We have jobs, children, partners, debts. This is the part of us to which literary fiction speaks.
Many childrens writers dont have children of their own
Appalling things can happen to children. And even a happy childhood is filled with sadnesses.
Bore children, and they stop reading. There's no room for self-indulgence or showing off or setting the scene.
Children simply don't make the distinction; a book is either good or bad. And some of the books they think are good are very, very bad indeed.
I started writing books for children because I could illustrate them myself and because, in my innocence, I thought they'd be easier.
I've written 16 children's books and five unpublished novels. Some of the latter were breathtakingly bad.
The most difficult book I wrote was the fourth in a series of linked children's books. It was like pulling teeth because the publisher wanted exactly the same but completely different. I'd much rather just do something completely different even if there's a risk of it going wrong.
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