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Last Updated: Monday October 03 2005 07:31 GMT

Authors on the spot: JK Rowling

JK Rowling
JK Rowling is one of the best-selling authors ever, having broken records for sales around the world.

Her Harry Potter books have spellbound kids and adults everywhere.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
It changed weekly, because I read at least a book a week!

How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
I usually date the ambition from the age of six, at which I wrote my first complete 'book' (about a rabbit called Rabbit), but I know that I wanted to be an author before then. In fact, I couldn't really understand why anybody would want to do anything different.

Any tips for kids who want to get started as an aspiring author?
The best way to learn about style, characterisation and plot construction is to read as much as you possibly can.

You will probably find that you start to imitate your favourite authors, but this is a good learning process and your own style will come eventually. Always plan your work; writing aimlessly sometimes throws up a good idea or two, but it is no way to produce a whole story.

Write what you know: your own interests, feelings, beliefs, friends, family and even pets will be your raw materials when you start writing. Develop a fondness for solitude if you can, because writing is one of the loneliest professions in the world!

And finally: perseverance is absolutely essential, not just to produce all those words, but to survive rejection and criticism. However, the utter joy of seeing a book you wrote sitting in a bookshelf is a prize worth striving for!

What makes books so special?
The power of the printed word unites the author's and the reader's imaginations to create a unique vision. Entire worlds can be carried around inside these small, cheap, paper objects that don't need plugs, modems or speakers. Books have survived for centuries; cinema is an upstart by comparison!

How do you get your inspiration for your writing?
The ideas just come; I don't really need much external inspiration. Just give me a quietish half hour, and perhaps a nice cup of tea, and I'll probably be able to dash off a paragraph or two.

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