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Interview with Children’s Writer Karen King

January 8th, 2014

image descriptionSome of you may have received our Course of the Week offer giving you £25 off the Writing for Children Course.  If not, you can still take advantage of it until 12th January by clicking here.  And to complement this offer we’re also giving a 10% reduction on our Review and Appraisal Service for children’s non-picture books (both fiction and non-fiction). 

So, if you’ve already got a children’s book in the pipeline and want an expert to cast their eye over your work and give you their help and advice, then it’s a good time to take advantage of the service.

I recently asked Karen King (author of part of the course and also a tutor) a few questions about her life as a writer and any tips that she’d like to pass on. Here they are for your edification!

 

1. When did you first decide that you wanted to be a writer and what triggered this?

I’ve always written. I had my first poem published when I was eleven. I can’t remember ever deciding that I wanted to be a writer, I was just lucky enough to sell some of my stories to children’s magazines, then I got asked to do more and suddenly I was writing for a living.

2. Do you have a writing routine, or are you very flexible about how you work?

I write every day unless I’m on holiday, and then I usually take a notebook with me. I’ve worked to deadlines most of my writing life, and had to write based around my family when my children were younger, so have learnt to be organised and committed but flexible.

3. What are your top three tips for writing for children?

Know your market, know your reader and don’t preach.

4. Who is your favourite children’s author and why?

When I was a child it was Richmal Crompton, I laughed aloud at the Just William books. Now there are so many talented authors it’s difficult to choose but I do love Neil Gaiman’s books. I love his diversity of ideas and he has a gift of expressing himself so vividly. Look at the beginning of The Graveyard Book: There was a hand in the darkness and it held a knife… It goes on to describe the knife then says: The knife had done almost everything it had been brought to that house to do and both the handle and the blade were wet. Amazing. Sends a chill down your spine and leaves the message that the knife hasn’t finished its job yet.

5. As a tutor, if you could give one vital piece of advice to students about writing for the children’s market, what would it be?

 Be aware of the current market and write a story for children today, but remember how it felt to be a child. Times change and children live in a different world but their feelings, hopes and fears are pretty much the same.

 

Some great advice there from Karen, and I think I’ll be downloading The Graveyard Book to my Kindle before too long!




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