Writing, for me, is like two sides of a coin. I spend a good bit of time on my own and at other times I am out and about meeting people of all ages and talking about books and writing.
Some writers write in coffee shops, surrounded by noise and people and they create their own bubble to work in.
I admit I have done this at times but I am too nosy and end up people-watching instead of writing and it's not so good if I am thinking about a picturebook, because I like space to spread papers around so that I can sketch little images and look at how it will lay out over the pages.
Other writers work a table or desk in their kitchen or bedroom or study and I don't suppose it matters as long as you can find that quiet zone in your head where the ideas and characters can come to life.
|Elm Park School New Zealand|
Children love to be told stories and they enjoy picturebooks what ever age they are and whatever part of the world they live in.
I never thought I would enjoy this side of things as much as I do. I used to be too shy to stand up and speak in front of people but over time I have discovered that it can be a lot of fun, and sometimes a real challenge. I love to speak to children, whether they are 3 or 13, or older.
I cannot understand people who will not make time to listen to children. They have such interesting things to say, such a fresh way of looking at the world.
I love talking picturebook in libraries, schools and nurseries.
Picturebooks are so much about the characters and sometimes I have a trusty friend or two to accompany me.
I love having props when I visit schools, something to surprise the children, to get even the quietest child to take part.
Of course big Hamish cannot come everywhere with me but I do have other creatures who often come to visit schools with me.
I've found that children are delighted to help tell the story of What Colour is Love? especially if they can get to hold one of the characters, or a colour card.
|Telling Hamish stories with sally on the Falkirk Wheel|
wildlife parks, haunted castles, and even on a canal boat high up on the Falkirk Wheel
|The Falkirk Wheel (the only rotating boat lift in the world)|
Sometimes I am working on my own, but now and then I do an event with Sally J. Collins, the illustrator of the Hamish books. She gets the children drawing Hamish which is a lot of fun.
Linda Strachan is the award winning author of over 60 books for all ages, from picture books to teen novels, and writing handbook Writing For Children.