From my name you will guess that my parents came from Germany, they were Jewish refugees from Hitler. I was born in London, and studied Law and then Read for the Bar. While doing that I did some supply teaching in a primary school and decided that I preferred teaching to the more lucrative work as a lawyer. After a year getting a PGCE, I taught at various schools in tough parts of London. Teaching led naturally to writing. I taught for over ten years at junior level at a time when education was very child centered. My notions of what children like to read are very influenced by my years teaching. I still live in London but spend part of every year in Australia, where I lived for some years with my academic husband. For many years I ran Barn Owl Books, a publishing house that reprinted out of print children's books that I started.
To date I have published over a hundred books, ranging from picture books to novels for early teens. Almost all my books are based on humour and my friendly vampires; witches, trolls, wolves and dragons are perennially popular with children. My most popular series, VLAD THE DRAC, a series of six longish books about a diminutive vegetarian vampire have often been on bestseller lists and still lure reluctant readers into the delights of the book. Recently, I have changed tack a bit and have started writing serious books about World War 11.
My series for Barrington Stoke, RESISTANC!, SEIGE! and BETRAYAL! have all been much praised and my story about the Kinder Transport for Collins MATTI'S MIRACLE (illustrated by Michael Foreman is doing well. These books reflect my interest in history. Currently, I am writing a short novel about dog fighting and a longer one about the Australian Gold Rush, - I am hoping it will need a long trip to Australia.
MY TALKS AND WORKSHOPS
When I visit a school I usually talk about becoming a writer for 20 minutes read for 20 minutes and then take questions for 20m minutes. The time usually flies by and I have never been short of questions. As I was a drama specialist, I read in an exciting way and have many different voices and the children loved that. The workshop I often do is about monsters; well people expect that of me! Each child is asked to draw a monster. After ten minutes they take it in turns to talk about their monster to the class. After that they sit down and write a play called THE DAY I MET MY MONSTER. Then they pair up and read their plays out. If there is time (and usually there isn't) the children are encouraged to write their plays out as prose, filling in the gaps between the dialogue.
Society of Author rates.
I am happy to go anywhere, at home and abroad.
I am happy talk in assembly if many teachers are there or to groups of up to sixty and to do up to three talks a day. I am willing to do short sessions with infant and reception classes, based on my own picture books No more than forty in a workshop group.
Here is a short list chosen from the one hundred and twenty books I have had published
VLAD THE DRAC and five sequels
Stories of a tiny vegetarian vampire who lives with a family in London. Funny, good to get juniors into reading.