Many authors will say that they started writing when they were six or so. I did too, but my writing was a bit different. Instead of writing stories to read, I wrote plays. My dolls and soft toys would act out whatever came out of my imagination. I was a tough director, making them repeat scenes if they didn’t get it right the first time.
School was a fun time for me. I love learning stuff and still get side-tracked doing more “research” than necessary for my books. My favourite subjects were Maths, Italian, Drama and Music. I loved creative writing, but on the whole I didn’t like English. In fact, being forced to study novels actually turned me off reading for most of my teenage years!
After school I spent a long time at university, studying Italian, Japanese and Physics. At the same time I started reading Harry Potter and decided that I wanted to be J.K. Rowling – not because I had any new ideas for the Harry Potter series, but because I wanted to make people happy by reading a story I’d written.
The first book I ever had published was Penny the Pencil. I hadn’t planned for it to be a book, but rather a fun way to teach two little Spanish girls basic classroom words like book, pencil and rubber. But the story kept on growing until I realised it had potential, so I sent it off to publishers. Most of them said no, but one said yes, and that’s all it took to get me started.