Anyone interested in the world generally can't help being interested in young adult culture - in the music, the bands, the books, the fashions, and the way in which the young adult community develops its own language.
Every writer has to find their own way into writing.
People can say what they like about the eternal verities, love and truth and so on, but nothing's as eternal as the dishes.
It changes you for ever, but you are changing for ever anyway.
When you are reading, someone has done a lot of work on your behalf, someone has had ideas and has then written and corrected and improved them so that they can be shared.
New Zealand is the only country I know well enough to write about. It can sometimes lead to complications.
Reading is very creative - it's not just a passive thing. I write a story; it goes out into the world; somebody reads it and, by reading it, completes it.
If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing twice.
In a way, the characters often do take over.
By the time ordinary life asserted itself once more, I would feel I had already lived for a while in some other lifetime, that I had even taken over someone else's life.
There are always two people involved in cruelty, aren't there? One to be vicious and someone to suffer! And what's the use of getting rid of - of wickedness, say - in the outside world if you let it creep back into things from inside you?
At the same time, I think books create a sort of network in the reader's mind, with one book reinforcing another. Some books form relationships. Other books stand in opposition. No two writers or readers have the same pattern of interaction.
I think I am too interested in my own ideas to copy anyone else's, but I find that other people's imagery, the flow of language in the outside world, games with words, and ideas about relationships are all most important to me.
I had to wait for a long time before I could support myself with writing. However, being a writer is what I have most wanted to be, from the time I was a child.
I don't think I prefer writing for one age group above another. I am just as pleased with a story which I feel works well for very small children as I do with a story for young adults.
Writing for young children I find I often use particular jokes with words and exaggerated, funny events, but some of these haunt the more complex stories for older children too.
I am really chained to my computer these days so I work in my bedroom, which is a room I have worked in for years and years. It is just as much an office as a bedroom, and during the day, my bed is rather like an extension of my desk.
I was able to work out all sorts of attitudes to style and event and character, all of which affected the way I came to think about my own writing. I believe that all good writers are original.
At this stage I am not involved with young adults as closely as many other writers. My children are grown up and my grandchildren are still quite young.
The novels take longer to write than the picture book texts, and they do take a different sort of concentration. However, a very short, simple story that works well is just as exciting to me as any longer and more complex book.
Will you still love me when I'm a monster?
Being a librarian certainly helped me with my writing because it made me even more of a reader, and I was always an enthusiastic reader. Writing and reading seem to me to be different aspects of a single imaginative act.
I, personally, have found reading a continual support to writing.
Try not to become disappointed if someone doesn't like a story you've written. Stick up for your ideas, but listen to what other people say, too. They might have good advice.
It is a good idea to know which publishers publish which stories. For example, there is no sense in sending a picture book text to a publisher who does not publish picture books.
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