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Last Updated: Friday December 16 2005 07:36 GMT

Lewis' interview with Sally Gardner

Author Sally Gardner and Press Packer Lewis

Press Packer Lewis reported for Newsround from the Nestlé Children's Book awards.

While he was there he managed to scoop an interview with Sally Gardner, one of Britain's top children's authors.

Sally won the gold prize at the awards in the 9-11 years category for her book I, Coriander.

Here's his interview.

What inspired you to write I, Coriander?

I wanted to write a story about London. I'm fascinated with London bridge and the idea of a bridge between London and the fairy world.

Where do you get your ideas from?

I get my ideas from all over the place!

How do you come up with the characters?

Quite a lot of my characters come from people I've met or people I've known. I think about them and hold them in my head.

Are you surprised that you won?

Yes! Big time surprised. I honestly didn't think I'd win. I still can't believe it.

How many books have you written?

Quite a few, near 20 I think. I should count them!

How long did it take you to write I, Coriander?

I was thinking about it for a year or so and then it took about a year to write.

Out of all the books that you've written, which one's your favourite?

It's always the book that I've just written. But I've written two books since I, Coriander and I still love it.

How does it feel to win?

Wonderful. I want to punch the air - like when Arsenal scores a goal. (I'm an Arsenal supporter.)

Are you proud of the book?

Very proud. Actually, can I put three verys? I'm very, very, very proud.

What made you become an author?

Well, I didn't think I would be because I couldn't spell. I couldn't write until I was 14. But I did have lots of stories in my head and that's what's important. I have lots of people who help me with spelling now and I use my computer spell check too.

Do you have any tips for people who want to become authors?

Don't feel a failure if you can't spell. If you've got a story to tell, tell it.

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