This book is full of bible imagery and holds a dark atmosphere. What, if anything, does the bible imagery symbolise?
The bible imagery speaks to the idea of the end of the world, of the possibility of Armageddon. I think it acts as a warning, a warning that catastrophic things can happen to our planet.
What are your opinions on censorship?
I totally oppose censorship. Freedom of speech is a corner stone of democracy. However, with freedom comes responsibility and I think we should choose our words with care, wield them with respect, and know that they can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
Will you be making a sequel to ‘The Wordsmith’?
I have ideas for a sequel, but I wrote The Wordsmith as a book that could stand alone.
What is your favourite book?
Too hard to call! I love too many books from the Chalet School series by Elinor M. Brent- Dyer to The Hobbit by Tolkien. I love Philip Pullman and especially the trilogy. I adore Sharon Creech and Eoin Colfer. I should stop there or I could go on all day!
Could you give some advice to young people looking to write stories?
Read, read and then read some more! I don’t think you can write unless you are a reader. Don’t give up. Writing need practise. Too many people stop before they discover that.
What was the last book you read?
I just read The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine and I loved it.
If you had to do a different job, what would you choose?
Radio presenter. I would love to present a programme about books for children and young people. Or I could be a bookshop owner…
What/who was your main inspiration to take up writing?
My inspiration came primarily from reading, and wanting to write books like the ones I loved to read. Two women, both called Jo, also inspired me! Firstly, there was Jo March in Little Women who was a writer, and later Jo Bettany in The Chalet School who was also a writer!
If somebody told you they had ‘writers block’, what would you tell them?
I would tell them to relax and go back to reading. Find books you love and read them, take out books you loved and reread them. Take away all pressure, and remember that you write because you love to write. I would advise them to write every day: a letter to a friend, a diary entry, a short poem. Writing is a muscle and works best went well exercised!
Do you feel that you can relate with Letta? If so, how?
I do relate to Letta. We are both very trusting people and discovering that the world is not exactly as you imagine it can be traumatic. We both love words and peace and quiet. Letta has a temper and I don’t share that trait with her but I think we are more alike, than not!
What are your favourite pastimes?
Reading, browsing in antique shops, collecting vintage Picture Books, walking and swimming.
What person do you feel most inspired by?
I am most inspired by anyone who has written a novel and had it published. I love listening to how people became writers, their process and their journey to publication and beyond. I feel totally privileged to be part of that world and it is a constant source of inspiration.
A huge thank you to Joe Standing from Standground Academy who put this interview together while on work experience here at Young Writers.