What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
My writing may defy classification but I love writing for children from ages five up.
What made you choose that genre?
I believe you have to enjoy reading in your chosen genre. Children’s books make me laugh, make me think and the artwork in many books for the very young is stunning.
How long does it take you to write a book?
This is so embarrassing. One of my uncompleted children’s books has left two young lads trapped in a castle dungeon for several years now. So long, in fact, they’ve probably started shaving. Another, a psychological thriller aimed at YA readers (fantastic story, this one) has also been ‘in progress’ since Noah was a lad. Other, more successful, stories (the ones I’ve finished) often don’t take too long once I get going.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I’m meant to have a schedule? I have to fit in writing between my other work – I’m a freelance copy editor, an editor with Crooked Cat Publishing, write short story critiques for Writers’ Forum magazine and also work in a residential care home.
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Certain names will jump into my head. Betsy Fudge and the Big Silence won The Writers’ Advice Centre for Children’s Books competition a few years back and Betsy arrived in my head fully formed. Ideas for the stories generally come from the characters; the books I enjoy reading most are character led. I enjoy mysteries too, so like to include that element when I can.
I was about ten and it was before I’d heard the term plagiarism. I wrote something Enid Blyton would have been proud to put her name to. Don’t remember the title but it probably included the word ‘adventure’.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Mostly I read, listen to music, or visit somewhere peaceful.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That writing for children isn’t as easy as it looks.
How many books have you written?
I’ve begun about a twenty but completed around half that.
Which is your favourite and why?
I have a great fondness for Betsy Fudge and so would like to include her in other stories.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be Enid Blyton. Either that or be married to Billy Fury.
What are you working on now?
Two books. One involves two young boys trapped in a castle dungeon. The other is a YA psychological thriller (fantastic story) for young adults.
Maureen Vincent-Northam has written seriously ever since Father Christmas left her a Petite typewriter. An editor with Crooked Cat Publishing, her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, anthologies and online. She’s tutored workshops and judged online writing contests. Rubbish at cooking, Maureen works from her home office when not burning dinner, and can usually be found surrounded by empty chocolate wrappers.
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