Q. Tell us five words that best describe you?
loyal, animal-lover, curious, hard-working, fun
Q. What prompted you to sit down and write your first story?
I guess I must have been sitting down because it was while I was on my bike! I started to write stories and poems in my head when I was six, while riding along dirt roads to my tiny country primary school. I loved books and stories and it seemed entirely natural to make up my own. When I got home I scribbled them down in old exercise books. Once I’d discovered the joys of writing I didn’t stop. I even picked out a pen-name (because I thought this was what all ‘real’ writers had to have) when I was eight.
Q. What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Definitely being able to work from home, and at hours that suit my (mainly nocturnal – early mornings scare me!) lifestyle. And having a dog or cat (or two) under (or on) my desk while I’m working. And being quite close to the fridge. It’s also lovely to receive emails from faraway places, from kids (or parents or teachers of kids) who’ve enjoyed reading my books (especially when they have ideas for sequels that I never would have thought of by myself).
Q. Are you a plotter or a panster?
(Plotter =Plotting out your manuscript before you write it. / Panster = Putting pen to paper and plotting as you go along)
I do the bare minimum of plotting – the storyline always changes or shoots off in unexpected directions anyway. I am definitely NOT one of those writers who has to know how a story finishes before they can begin writing. This probably makes me very inefficient! But I enjoy the process of discovery, even if it sometimes leads me down the wrong rabbit-hole.
Q. What is a typical writing day for you?
I’m an ‘owl’ rather than a ‘lark’ so I find it hard to get going in the mornings (especially if I’ve been up working till 3 am the night before – or sometimes even all night, depending on how close to the deadline I am). I definitely need to ease myself gently into the writing day with busy work – checking emails, tidying up stuff, cutting my fingernails, cleaning the … Depending on how well things are flowing, I might write for ten hours, or two. But something every day. And I definitely do my best writing at night, when the house is quiet and there are huge banks of uninterrupted time stretching ahead of me.
Q. How did you celebrate your first book being published?
With a glass of bubbles (or three) to wet the baby’s head. This has become a bit of a pattern …
Q. What’s next from Meredith Costain?
Early last year I was invited by a publisher to write a series for mid-primary readers called the Ella Diaries. They were looking for something that was ‘funny and reflective’. I’ve really enjoyed creating the character of Ella. She loves words and language (particularly alliteration, like someone else I know) and writes poems in times of great stress or when she’s trying to work things out in her head (also like someone else I know ).
The first two books – Double Dare You and Ballet Backflip – were published in February, and there are more coming throughout the year. I’m currently working on Book # 5.
Meredith’s website: www.meredithcostain.com