Frequently asked questions
These have been carefully selected from the many that I get asked by children at events.
Are you rich?
How old are you?
How long does it take to write a book?
It depends on the book. After doing all my research, each of the Egyptian Chronicles took between two and three months. The book I'm working on at the moment has already taken me over a year.
Have you ever seen a snake in Egypt?
No, not in Egypt. But I've seen quite a few in other parts of Africa. My most amazing encounter was with a big black forest cobra in West Africa. It was enormous! It crossed the track in front of me, so I rather foolishly ran after it to take a photo. It sensed me, and stopped. Then it raised its hood, on full alert. Spooky!
How do you research your books?
In many different ways. Visiting the place itself is very important. Then, for a subject such as ancient Egypt, I read books, visit museums and browse the Internet. I've recently been writing about Guinea-Bissau. There are very few books about that, so I observe people's lives and ask them questions.
Do you choose what goes on the cover of your books?
No, the publisher has designers who do that. But I do choose the book titles, and that naturally has an influence on the cover. I was really pleased with how the designers interpreted the titles of the Egyptian Chronicles -- they did a fantastic job!
Where do you get your ideas from?
Ideas are funny things. They kind of pop into your head sideways, and you're not quite sure where they came from. But I do find different cultures inspiring, especially ones with a colourful history or interesting beliefs.
Will there be more Egyptian Chronicles?
Nothing is ever sure in the world of publishing... but it's possible.
Do you have any advice for budding writers?
Go back and read the first question. Think very hard about the answer. Then just keep trying.