Interview
Inis Magazine 2009
(With thanks to all at Inis)

What's your idea of perfect happiness?
Reading. A quiet, warm room with a comfy sofa, a huge pile of books beside me and all the time in the world to read them. Sigh. Makes me happy even thinking about it.

And a good writing day, when everything clicks into place and the story just seems to flow down my fingers and on to the page comes pretty close too.

What is your motto?
Find work you love and it won't seem like work at all – that's what I always tell students – will that do?

Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
One?! Max in Where the Wild Things Are – for being bold and brave. (Imagine bossing those wild things around – he's such a little tyke).

Harriet in Harriet the Spy for being her own person but knowing when to say sorry.

And Tom and Johnny, two brothers in Wilderness by Roddy Doyle, who save their mum on the husky safari – any mum would be proud and lucky to have boys like that!

What do you value most in your friends?
Loyalty.

What is your most treasured possession?
A letter from Judy Blume – on pink scented notepaper – I had lunch with her a few years ago and I've never forgotten it, what a thrill!

What talent would you most like to have?
I'd love to be able to draw or sing. Preferably both at the same time.

What words or phrase do you most overuse?
'Absolutely!'

What is your favourite journey?
From Cork City to Castletownshend in West Cork, one of my favourite places in the whole world.

With which historical figure do you most identify?
Jeepers, that's a hard one. Beatrix Potter – not because of her exquisite books, but because she was a little stroppy and headstrong, knew her own mind and loved reading, writing (and in her case drawing) more than anything else in the world. She was a remarkable woman.