Judi, can you tell us about your next book, and where the idea came from?
My next book is called Double Trouble – the second in the Friends Forever series. In this book, Lauren and Tilly travel back to ancient Italy. They have a lovely time until they discover that they are in Pompeii – and Vesuvius is beginning to rumble!
How long did it take you to write?
I was really excited about the story, so I raced through the first draft in three weeks. However, it took six months before it was ready for the printers.
Your first book for children, Alice Next Door, was an instant success. Where did the idea come from?
I wanted to write about two best friends, living in Ireland. I needed some drama, so I looked into my past, and remembered that I moved primary school three(!) times. Then I decided to split up my two heroines, and base the story on their attempts to get back together.
What attracted you to writing for children?
I had written three books for adults, but my three children persuaded (bullied?) me, until I agreed to write a book they’d like to read.
How do you organise your writing day? For example, where do you write? And at what time of the day are you at your writing best?
I dream of having a private studio, but in reality I write in the corner of my kitchen/living room. I write best in the mornings, when the house is quiet.
Do you use a computer or write long hand?
Always computer. I’m not sure I could be a writer if i didn’t have facilities like cut/paste and find/replace.
Do you edit as you go along? Or at the end of the first draft? Do you find rewriting difficult?
I try not to edit until I get to the end of the first draft, as it slows me down and distracts me from the story. I quite like rewriting. I don’t like the final edit though, as by then the story is too familiar, and I’m never sure if I like it any more.
Do you have an agent?
Yes, my agent is Caroline Sheldon.
What type of books do you like to read?
I love to read, and read all kinds of books – but mostly fiction. At the moment I’m reading Wuthering Heights, (which I haven’t read since I did my Leaving Cert), and I’m loving it all over again.
Do you have a favourite book?
Hard to choose just one, but I’ve always loved The Great Gatsby, by F Scott Fitzgerald.
And finally, do you have any advice or tips for people who would like to write for children?
Firstly, practice. Secondly, find an opportunity to read your work to children, as that will immediately tell you if you are on the right track. (Sometimes children are too polite to tell you if they don’t like your work, but if you can see their immediate response, the truth will be obvious).
Thank you, Judi for sharing your writing life with us!