Zoe, thank you for agreeing to talk to us today.
Thank you very much for asking me, Cherry.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always love listening to the radio and about twenty years ago I was in the kitchen and this rap song came on, and as I’m not a fan I thought to myself, hmm….I wonder if could have a try at writing a song? And I started writing A Difference in your Life, and I liked writing so much that I then started collaborating with two friends of mine, Les and Jack. So, over the next three years we’d written over fifty songs together. Then five years later, my son was diagnosed with autism, and this had given me idea about writing Clueless Clarence, and I asked Les if he could help me. Les sadly passed away in July 2014 and the book was finally published in December 2015.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Clarence took us just over a year to write. Les liked history, so worked out all about the anniversary dates and most of Clarence’s following comments, and I mainly did all the diary entries and the poems were an equally jointed effort.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I usually write in the morning. I will most probably start at about 9 o’clock in the morning and could keep going to a least for a couple of hours or so.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
For this question I‘m going to give you two characters. So, they are Clarence Upton-Smythe who is my main character and Mr Arthur Willis who is a retired piano teacher and choir master.
Clarence, teenager with mild autism. He is fixated on time so he can’t stand it if other people or things make him late for anything. He also hates waste, untidiness, disorganisation, being in small confined spaces finds and only has a few close friends.
Arthur, scatterbrain, lives on his own he is also is a widower. Actually, in my head I can see Sir David Jason playing this character.
What was the one of the most surprising thing you learned in creating your book?
Well, all the drawings and most of the poems were done many years before I started the book, and I thought, hey, I know, why don’t I just add them into the story? So I did.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a tennis star, or an actress or to sing in a pop band of some kind.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?
Find the style that suits you and it’s always best to start with what you know. Oh, and when I’m writing I like listening to classical music because it helps me to concentrate a lot.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I like reading books especially autobiographies, Cathy Glass, Tory Hayden, Dirk Bogarde, Brian Blessed, Tony Hadley, Paul O’Grady, I’ve just read Camp David by David Walliams, I’m now reading Just A Boy by Richard McCann, and then it’ll be My Life by Sir David Jason. I also enjoy playing boardgames especially Cluedo (The Harry Potter version), piano, violin, singing, tennis and badminton. For the TV I love watching Coronation Street, Loose Women, Escape to the Country, Disney cartoons, The Hit List, comedy/police dramas/films, Countryfile and Sir David Attenborough programmes.
What does your family think of you writing?
Well, actually my sister Sally Hunter is a writer too. She created characters like Humphry’s Corner and Digby the Dragon.
What do you think makes a good story?
Well, I like stories to have a little quirkiness about them just like how Sue Townsend writes. So, I decided to have my very own Adrian Mole type story, but with a few things extra added.
We’re going to have to finish now, so I wish you good luck with the second edition.
Thank you, Cherry, bye for now.