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Last Updated: Wednesday March 01 2006 14:55 GMT

Authors on the spot: Morris Gleitzman

Morris Gleitzman
Morris Gleitzman is the author of Once - the story of a Jewish boy called Felix.

It is set in Poland during World War Two when it was a very dangerous place to be Jewish.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
The William books by Richard Compton. I often recognise bits of William Brown in my own characters.

He reminds me how having a good heart doesn't always mean a tidy house!

How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
I think I was 17 when I first twigged you could do it as a job. I had enjoyed writing stories as a kid but only to entertain me and my friends.

Any tips for kids who want to get started as an aspiring author?
Something which took me a few years to realise but I find very useful is that every story is about a character trying to do something about a big problem in their life.

When kids tell me they get stuck trying to get started with a story I suggest for them to make sure they know what problem the character is going to be grappling with.

You can write about that in the first sentence and then take it from there.

What makes books so special?
They remind us how much fun we can have in our imaginations.

How do you get inspiration for your writing?
I meet and make friends with characters in my imagination. Once I know what problems those characters are facing I really want to try and help them do something about them.