Encouraging young people to believe in themselves and find their own voice whether it's through writing, drama or art is so important in giving young people a sense of self-worth.
Wherever my story takes me, however dark and difficult the theme, there is always some hope and redemption, not because readers like happy endings, but because I am an optimist at heart. I know the sun will rise in the morning, that there is a light at the end of every tunnel.
It's the teacher that makes the difference, not the classroom.
Always write your ideas down however silly or trivial they might seem. Keep a notebook with you at all times.
By the time I sit down and face the blank page I am raring to go. I tell it as if I'm talking to my best friend or one of my grandchildren.
Animals are sentient, intelligent, perceptive, funny and entertaining. We owe them a duty of care as we do to children.
It is really important that focusing on things such as spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting doesn't inhibit the creative flow. When I was at school there was a huge focus on copying and testing and it put me off words and stories for years.
One of the great failings of our education system is that we tend to focus on those who are succeeding in exams, and there are plenty of them. But what we should also be looking at, and a lot more urgently, is those who fail.
Don't worry about writing a book or getting famous or making money. Just lead an interesting life.
It is the child's understanding that teaches the adults the way of the future. They're still doing it today with modern technology.
The most important thing is to live an interesting life. Keep your eyes, ears and heart open. Talk to people and visit interesting places, and don't forget to ask questions. To be a writer you need to drink in the world around you so it's always there in your head.
Characters are the key to a good book. It took me several novels to comprehend that.
The big relationships you make in your life are with those that you love and if things do go wrong then it's a source of great pain and that lasts.
Write because you love it and not because it is something that you think you should do. Always write about something or somebody you know about - something that you feel deeply and passionately about. Never try and force it.
It's good to focus on the universal suffering that goes on in any war. Whatever the right and wrongs of the war, there is always universal suffering.
For un-subscribe please check the mail footer.