Monday 13 April 2015

Author to Author: Fleur Hitchcock Quizzes Cathy Hopkins

Cathy is known as a teenage author, but recently she’s been dipping her toes deeper into middle grade.
Cathy you’ve written masses of books so you must know by now: what’s your favourite part of the writing process, drafting or editing?

Editing. When I have the main story down, I like going back to the beginning and adding light and shade and rewriting.

Do you write using music?

Absolutely a no no for me. I can't concentrate if there's music on. I like to listen when doing anything else but not when I am writing.

Who gets to read your manuscripts first?

I usually send to both my editor and my agent when a book is finished.

Your most recent book, A Home for Shimmer is a book about dogs or friendship or both?

More about friendship I think, there is only one dog in it though she plays a big role. The main character Amy is the new girl in an area and feels lonely at first because she doesn't know anyone and all her friends are in her old home town so it's about how she finds new friends, one human, one canine.

When you were Amy’s age – What books did you read?
I loved the Narnia books by CS Lewis and the Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

So what did you want to be when you grew up?
A ballet dancer. No really, don't laugh.

I’m not laughing – I wanted to be Olga Corbett.

If you could be 10 again – what would you want to be?
A writer. I wished I'd started earlier and done creative writing classes at that age and read all the books about story structure, creating characters, plotting etc. The focus back then though was more on reading rather than writing.

And did you enjoy school?
Loved it. I grew up in Kenya in East Africa and my memories of the schools there are wonderful, of open sunny spaces and a lot of time outdoors.

Did growing up in Africa influence your writing? Does it creep into this book?
The location hasn't crept into this book because it is set in Devon but we did have dogs when we were abroad, always golden Labradors. Shimmer in the book is a golden retriever.

If you could rescue one book from a burning library what would it be?
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, it's one of my all time favourite books. I have returned to it many times and never get tired of it.

A Home for Shimmer is published by Simon and Schuster.

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