Simon Cheshire is one of my favourite children’s authors so I’m delighted that he’s agreed to be a guest on Writers’ Checklist.
Simon grew up in Warwickshire and has been published in many countries around the world. He's the author of some wonderfully humorous books for children and teens including the popular Saxby Smart detective series.
Simon’s BOOK PAGE where you can download chapters of his books. Do take a look!
Simon's AMAZON page.
A: My first published book was “Jeremy Brown Of The Secret Service”, an action-packed comedy about spies, which was published in 1997. I'd been an unpublished wannabe for about fifteen years before then.
Q: What do you love (or loathe) most about the writing life?
A: Love: being yer own boss; the freedom of the open page; seeing that you really can make a difference, when you visit schools and get kids reading.
Loathe: the poverty; the fact that your future depends almost entirely on how much publicity you generate.
Q: Do you have a writing routine or any odd writing quirks?
A: I try to stick to a daily routine, because at heart I'm a lazy slob and I need to have a definite timetable to stick to. I try to be at the keyboard by 8:30am.
Q: Is there a special place you like to write?
A: I tend to move around the house a lot. I find that a change of chair, or room, helps freshen up the thought processes! I'll often shift writing location three of four times a day, dragging notes, coffee cup and laptop power cable along with me.
Q: How important is it to you to plot your stories?
A: It's vital. I always like to know the last sentence of a story before I write the first one. I greatly admire those writers who can sit down and launch themselves onto a blank piece of paper. That's talent I can barely dream of.
A: Very often, yes. Although, having said that, I'm one of those writers who say you can't put real people into books. Real people are too weird. You have to tone them down, and prune back their behaviour, before they become realistic. There's something of me in a number of my characters, and there are bits and pieces of my family, my old teachers, my in-laws, all sorts. Although, they don't know that. So say nothing.
Q: How would you fare as a spy or private detective?
A: I'd be rubbish. I'm not nearly observant enough.
Q: What qualities do you think writers should have?
A: Self-discipline, imagination, and an ego the size of a major municipal building. These days, it also helps if you're a shameless self-publicist. Which is dreadful, but true.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: A non-fiction book aimed mostly at 8-12 year-olds, but hopefully useful for anyone aged 8 to 80. It's a beginner's guide to great writers and the history of books, everything from cave paintings to superhero comics, via Shakespeare, Dickens and the Ancient Greeks. At the moment it's called “You've Got To Read This!”, but that may change.
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring children's author?
A: Listen to your inner 10-year-old.
Simon Cheshire was talking to Maureen Vincent-Northam, co-author of The Writer's ABC Checklist