A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
Not so long ago I watched a youtube clip of Dawn O’Porter giving her top tips for would-be writers. GET A DOG! She said.
Being the owner of not one but two dogs, I sat nodding vigorously at the screen.
Writing is a solitary business. It’s actually one of the things I like about it but that’s because I’m never completely alone, not with these two rascals for company.
Most of my writing gets done in a little bedroom at the back of my house. It’s got a wide windowsill with views out over the fields, and with the addition of a pillow and blanket, has become Bert’s favourite place for a morning snooze. On the days I work in school, he’ll even hang out there on his own.
Being of a more elderly disposition, Pip prefers if I write on the sofa under a blanket. It’s the blanket bit she loves, and the fact that I’ll only be moving to the kettle and back, if at all.
When it gets to 4pm, it’s walk time. I don’t have to look at the clock: two sets of beady eyes fix on me, and I know it’s time to stop writing. After sitting on my bum all day, a stomp across fields is just the ticket. Dog walks are brilliant for working out plot conundrums, getting ideas, having a bit of space from your work.
That’s why I agree with Dawn O’Porter. Dogs are the perfect writing companions. A dog always loves you. They don’t judge you for your writing, your sales figures, the state of your around-the-house clothes. They just want you there. Which, for me, is the perfect arrangement.
When she isn’t writing, Emma Carroll teaches English part-time at a secondary school in Devon. She has also worked as a news reporter, an avocado picker and the person who punches holes into filofax paper. She recently graduated with distinction from Bath Spa University’s MA in Writing For Young People. ‘Frost Hollow Hall’ is Emma’s debut novel for Faber. Told in the distinctive voice of Tilly Higgins, it was inspired by a winter’s day from Emma’s childhood. Currently, Emma is working on her second novel. It is set in a Victorian circus. In another life she wishes she’d written ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier. Emma lives in the Somerset hills with her husband and two terriers.