Abie Longstaff

What books did you read when you were a child?
I read anything going - comics, fiction, non-fiction, picture books - I used to read late at night under the covers with a torch. And I even found a way of reading in the shower by holding my book way out in front of me so it didn’t get wet!

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
Matilda – we both love reading. Plus Miss Honey is my favourite storybook teacher.

What is the best thing about reading?
Reading lets you spy on other lives and faraway places. In an internet age where everyone looks like they have a wonderful life, books help you understand that you are not the only one feeling sad or angry, or the only one to fail.

What is your all-time favourite book?
When I am queen I’m going to chop this question’s head off. I don’t know! I have so many! I still love many of the books I loved as a child and I reread them every time I go to my mum and dad’s house.

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Talking and playing games. We play word games at the dinner table like ‘Guess which fairytale character I am’ or ‘Two lies and one truth about my day’ or ‘Fortunately Unfortunately’.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
My mum and dad played a huge part, but so did my sisters. I’m one of six children and we were always playing shops or libraries or hairdressers so I used to make appointment cards and price lists and name badges.

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
Reading is about enjoyment so I don’t judge what my children read. Whether they want to read a comic, a book, an encyclopaedia or information on the internet; it’s still reading.

Abie Longstaff is the author of the Fairytale Hairdresser and its sequels. Her new book, How to Catch a Witch, is on sale now.

Read more author interviews here.

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