Summers in publishing can get a little uneventful, with everyone either jetting off to exotic locations or left holding the fort in rainy England while your colleagues are sipping cocktails on a sunny beach. We have decided to give all our lovely authors a little bit of extra homework over the summer, and have asked them a series of serious, and not-so-serious questions about the ups and downs of writing, and their holiday plans:

First up is the delightful LARA WILLIAMSON, author of best-selling and prize-winning debut A BOY CALLED HOPE, and forthcoming THE BOY WHO SAILED THE WORLD IN AN ARMCHAIR, both published by Usbourne:

What was your favourite book as a child?

I used to climb into wardrobes all the time and swear I’d keep on walking and end up in Narnia. Sadly it never happened despite The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe being one of my favourite books and me believing I really could find a magical kingdom if I looked hard enough. C S Lewis lived in Northern Ireland, not far from where I grew up. Those same landscapes are said to have inspired my favourite book and although I’m an adult now, a tiny part of me still checks the back of the wardrobe – just in case

Do you have any secret talents (other than writing)?

Does raising one eyebrow, flaring my nostrils and wiggling my ears count? Or does that just mean I have a very flexible face? I’m also not too shabby at illustrating and I can tap dance. Not both at the same time though as I suspect that would make for a very wobbly drawing indeed

What book are you reading right now/planning to read over the summer?

Well, I’ve always wanted to help solve a mystery in real life so I’m doing the next best thing by reading about one. I’ve just finished Nancy Drew Mystery Stories: The Secret in the Old Attic and started The Whispering Statue. Once I’ve finished that I’ve got three more in the Nancy Drew series to read. Secretly I’d love to write a mystery book like this. Watch this space

If you weren’t writing, what other job would you dream to have?

When I was younger I wanted to be a forensic scientist. I suppose I thought the job involved solving the mystery of how and why someone had died. In the end I went to university and studied fashion instead. I’m not one hundred per cent sure how I jumped from forensics to fashion but there you go. In The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair the main character, Becket, is also interested in medical science. I wonder where I got that idea from.

What is your favourite ice cream flavour?

Anything with nuts! I like praline best or an ice cream with a caramel swirl. I’m also quite partial to honeycomb or fudge or coconut. Basically I’ve never found an ice cream flavour that I didn’t like.

What do you snack on while writing?

The Cookie Monster has nothing on me. When I’m writing I’ll eat anything I can get my hands on, particularly biscuits. And herbal tea – there also has to be many cups of tea. The writing law according to me is: Fuel goes in, stories come out. And I always follow the rule that if the biscuits are broken then that’s zero calories.


Happy Summer Reading!