• CRIME TIME | 15 April 2008 |

    What made you decide to go from writing books for children to adult novels?

    I actually started out writing for adults. I wrote lots of adult books which were never published, and my first book to see print was Procession of the Dead (known at that time as Ayuamarca). So it’s not a case of turning from children’s books to adult book, but rather returning to them.

    Which would you say was more of a challenge - writing for a child audience or an older one?

    To be honest, I’ve never made much of a distinction between the two. They’re both equally challenging in their own way, and I approach a book in exactly the same way, whether it’s intended for adults or teens. Some people think writing for children must be easier, since the books are shorter and the audience is supposedly less demanding. But that isn’t so. Good children’s books have just as much going on as a good adult’s book.

    Did you get any advice or guidance on how to write for a certain type of audience?

    I never write for an audience. I write to please the fan within myself, and then hope that other people enjoy the story as much as I do. I think writers should always put the story first, not the demands of their audience.

    You say that it’s about a parent judging their child on whether or not Procession of the Dead would be suitable enough for them to read. It’s good advice, do you have children and if so, would you let them read this book?

    I don’t have children. If I did, I would certainly let them read the book if I thought they were ready for it - and I think a child is ready when they think they are. A lot of parents conveniently forget their own childhoods, the forbidden movies and books that they watched or read on the sly. I read my first Stephen King book when I was about 9 or 10 years old, so I’d be a hypocrite if I started preaching about the need to shield children from books!!! I certainly believe in individual responsibility, in individual parents discussing these matters with the children, helping to guide them to suitable material. But I’m against third-party censorship. Books are personal, and should be dealt with on a personal, one-on-one case by the individuals involved.

    What was your favourite book as a child?

    The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

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