Sarah Forbes

Sarah was born in Aberdeen and started her career at legendary comic publishers DC Thomson before moving to London to work as a magazine journalist and then editor. She now lives in Edinburgh and London, dividing her time between writing, editing and journalism.

Q: What books did you read when you were a child?
A: I loved Roald Dahl, Anne Fine and Judy Blume, and I devoured series fiction like Anne of Green Gables and the Chalet School. I was also a big fan of Choose Your Own Adventure books, because the reader got to decide what happened in the story!

Q: If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
A: I’d love to be like Miss Honey in Matilda; she’s gentle, clever and kind. But I’m not nearly as good or patient as she is! Judging by how much chocolate I ate yesterday, I’ll have to be Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Q: What is the best thing about reading?
A: It’s a complete escape from reality, and we all need that sometimes. Plus, books can take you absolutely anywhere; even if you don’t have money to travel, they can take you all around the world!

Q: What is your all time favourite book?
A: That’s a really tough question and I don’t think I can pick just one, but today I’ll say The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It’s a really old story but the themes of friendship and adventure and growing-up still make sense today.

Q: Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
A: I spend a lot of time having wonderful, nonsensical conversations with my nephew, or playing ‘imaginary’ games of shops or houses, where he gets to choose what happens next. I think letting kids have a sense that their imagination can run free is really important (and fun!).

Q: How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
A: They were great. I grew up in a house with a lot of books, and I was constantly writing stories or folding up paper to make little books. My parents probably found this quite funny, but I do remember they always showed interest if I brought home stories that I’d written at school, and I’m very grateful for that now!

Q: How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
A: I love reading the books I remember from my own childhood, particularly Shirley Hughes’ Alfie books. My little nephew has a shelf of picture books at his height, so he can pick a story whenever he wants, and I think that’s great – if you can make books an everyday, accessible part of your kids’ routine, that seems like a good thing to me!

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