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Last Updated: Wednesday January 09 2008 15:18 GMT

Newsround chats to top kids author

Ann Kelley

Author Ann Kelley has just scooped a top prize for her novel The Bower Bird.

Ann told Newsround she was amazed to find out she had won the Costa Children's Book Award for 2007.

What's the book about?

Ann: It's about a 12-year-old girl called Gussie who is waiting for a heart and lung transplant. She's living with her mum in St Ives, in Cornwall, and she is searching for her father's Cornish family.

The whole book is written in her voice, she's the narrator.

What's Gussie like?

Ann: She's full of life, inspite of her illness, and she's determined to make the most of every moment she's got.

She knows her life is precious, you see the world through her eyes.

The Bower Bird book cover

What gave you the idea for the book?

Ann: My own son gave me the inspiration. My own son had the same heart problem that I have given Gussie.

Why did you set the book in St Ives?

Ann: I've lived here for over 40 years now, it's where my children were brought up, on and off.

I love it - this is my home town. It's a very beautiful place.

How many books have you written?

Ann: The Bower Bird is the middle book of a trilogy, so it's quite a surprise that the second book has won a big prize.

The first one was called The Burying Beetle, and that's the beginning of Gussie's story. They're the first novels I've written.

What made you want to be a writer?

Ann: I've always loved writing, and it's very difficult to make a living out of writing.

I started off writing magazine articles to go with my photographs.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to be a writer?

Ann: Read, read, read, as much as you can.

Write something every day, even if it's just a phrase or a sentence. Keep a journal, and write in that.

Be very observant, even if it's just your bedroom doorknob - describe it.

Try not to use clichés. Always try and think of a different way of saying something.

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