Just in case you were wondering, here are a few questions I get asked on school visits and when I am in the queue at the cash point.
Do you live in a castle?
NO!!!!!!!!!! But I did visit a nice one in Scotland once.
If you could be invisible for one day where would you go?
To Victoria Beckham’s house.
If you had a choice of one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Avocado because it is the single most nutritional food I know of that doesn’t taste of dust or spider poo.
What does spider poo taste of?
I have no idea. Spiders?
What’s your favourite children’s book?
Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian. I challenge you not to cry at the end! I read it recently to my children and I kept having to stop because I was balling my eyes out.
What was your earliest childhood memory?
Standing in a playpen in the back garden of my very first home in Bolton. I was under the age of two! I really can remember that far back.
Can you remember how it felt to be a teenager?
Yes! Some days it feels like yesterday when Sharon and I mercilessly teased the boys in the fifth year common room. Those poor boys are probably scarred for life. I can remember how it felt to go to my first teenage party aged thirteen and have a slow dance with a particularly spotty boy who tried to kiss me – I was almost sick! Bleurgh! I’m not going to name and shame…
Did you write stuff as a child?
Yes, my brother and I would write plays and perform them in the back garden to our parents and next-door neighbours. I also remember writing magazines and newspapers for my mum to read, and working so hard that my hand would totally clench into a fist – since been medically identified as Colouring-in Claw!
How did you get into writing?
I was working as an editorial assistant at Bloomsbury Children’s Books when my boss there (the man who discovered Harry Potter!), asked me to write a joke book. He said he liked the way I wrote. So I asked my brother to help me and we wrote it at my kitchen table in two days. It was so much fun and it gave me the writing bug. After that I decided I wanted to write full time but it was four years before I managed to do so.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Oh, that’s easy! I worked on a chicken farm after graduating from my degree. I had wanted to be a famous artist but couldn’t get a job doing that, so I worked on the farm instead. It was gross – every day I was shovelling poo that went up to my knees it was so deep. Inside the chicken shed under the piles of poo I would sometimes find dead chickens and rotten eggs!
Have you always DJed?
Yes and no. I have always been mad about music and used to play my seven-inch singles on my record player very loud. My friends would come and listen in the front garden and we would have a kind of outdoor disco. So I guess that was kind of DJing! But I started DJing properly in my twenties when someone showed me their DJ kit – two record turntables and a mixer played out through their stereo. I was hooked and wanted to have a go all the time. I now have my own decks set up in the kitchen with flashing lights for after dinner raves. I DJ with my best friend under the name of Whitney and Britney. Here’s us DJing at my wedding!
What job would you like to do if you weren’t a writer?
Hmm, apart from cake taster and salted caramel ice-cream seller? Most probably I would like to own my own health food shop and café, with a disco room at the back. Sorry to disappoint – you were probably hoping I was going to say astronaut or brain surgeon.
Who is your favourite writer ever?
There are too many! However, when I’m feeling clever, I love Malcolm Gladwell’s books – they are non-fiction and really make you think. I love a rom-com and Marian Keyes is my favourite author for this. She is more than a rom-com writer; she is very funny and very observant. She’s not afraid to inject a serious subject with humour and I like that.
What’s your favourite film?
Again, argh!!!! How am I supposed to choose? I saw a film recently starring Keira Knightly called Begin Again. I TOTALLY loved it!!! The music was amazing and I wish I had written the plot – it was so cool and quirky. And Keira could actually sing!
What is the worst food you have ever tasted?
Liver! It’s gross and tastes of earth. And kidneys – they taste of blood. Vileness.