When did you start to write?

I wrote my first book in an exercise book when I was eight. It was called The Year of Mr Goodbery about a lonely old man who made friends by growing vegetables. When I was ten I typed it out and sent it to the children’s publisher Brockhampton Press – Antony Kamm rejected it, but very nicely:

“Certainly I feel that one day you will be able to write a book which will be published. Don’t be depressed by this, writing books is very difficult. One needs a lot of practice and experience. Read as many books as you can of all kinds, and learn about writing from them and keep writing things yourself.”

So I took that sound advice, and just over 20 years later I succeeded in getting a book published.