What five words best describe you?
I do not do brevity.
What prompted you to sit down and write your first story?
My overwhelming urge to pay the rent. Also, I wanted to do more than I was doing as a TV writer. Also, I had the voice of the worlds most glamorous flying pig in my head so I thought I should get it out.
If you could invite one author, dead or alive to dinner who would it be?
JK Rowling. I love Jane Austen but from what I’ve read about her she was not the chatty type. I come from the same part of England as JK Rowling and we both like wine, so I think we would have a lot to talk about.
Is there any part of the creative process you don’t like?
Yes. Most parts. The writing is difficult, the editing is hard and the plotting makes my brain hurt. Still, it is easier than most jobs because you don’t have to wear proper shoes or put on makeup. You don’t even have to leave the house. …Except to buy coffee and chocolate.
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 a combination of both. I also incorporate a lot of the structural discipline I have learned as a TV writer. And I try to be guided by the emotional momentum of the characters as much as possible, getting the plot to fit in with that, which I realise is counter intuitive but it works in a butterfly in the Amazon sort of way.
What excites you about the future of children’s books?
I don’t know. I haven’t thought about the issue in broad terms. I mainly think about my future ability to pay the mortgage. I suppose I just hope there is one. The fall of the music industry has taught us not to take these things for granted.
What’s the funniest thing a child has ever said to you during one of your presentations/talks?
“Are you pregnant?” I was not.
What’s next from R.A. Spratt? (or would you prefer Rachel?)
I will write 2 more books in the Friday Barnes series then start on a new series, which will probably have mysteries but also action and adventure. At least that is the plan, so far my career seems to have a mind of its own.