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Interview with Terry Pratchett

Terry, whose first book was published in 1974, was interviewed by Hannah Giannini and Adam Binding of Tetherdown Primary School in North London.

Did anyone tell you when you were young that you were talented or did you decide on your own that you wanted to be an author?

My granny used to say I was talented, but that's the job of grannies. I have to say I decided on my own. No one else can do it for you. But I like being an author. If I wasn't already an author, I'd want to be an author.

Do you write your stories by hand or on a computer? How long does it take you to write a book?

I write directly onto a word processor, but this is because from my early teens I've been used to keyboards. A book can take anything up to six months. I think a computer can help you write better or let you write worse. It depends entirely on you.

Are your adult and children's books different to write?

I don't really distinguish between the two. I just write books. There are differences in the writing, but it's hard to explain what they are-for me it's the feel of how I do it.

Which is your favourite of your own books? What do you see as your weaknesses as an author?

I've got a soft spot for 'Guards! Guards!' and I'm proud of 'Johnny and the Dead'. I think as an author I am all weaknesses!

Do you ever get writer's block? If so, what do you do to get yourself going again? Do you ever build up a problem for your characters and then not see a way out of the mess?

No, writer's block was invented by people who don't want to work at writing. When I do get stuck I work out why, and then try to unstick myself. Look, writing isn't easy.

Where do your plot ideas come from? Do they just come or do you have to sit down and really work them out?

Oh dear. Look, I just watch the world and read books and sit and think and the ideas turn up. I said writing wasn't easy-you do have to sit and work things out. A good start is to think how stories work and the feelings and thoughts you want to put in the readers' minds.

What gave you the idea for the Luggage?

I dreamed it up for a role-playing game about 27 years ago. It more or less just turned up in my mind.

Why do you like writing about little people?

Only in four books out of thirty! But in fact small people are fun to write about - because they live in a world which is our world and yet, because of their size, they see it in such a different way. That's the art of fantasy: showing people familiar things from a new direction. Familiar objects-or people or beliefs-seen from a new direction can often be more 'fantastic' than anything an author could invent.

Thank-you very much Terry Pratchett!

Read more interviews of leading authors by children.

YoungWriter was a magazine published from 1995 to 2003 by Kate Jones.
We here at Myst Ltd had the pleasure of producing the magazine for Kate.
Sadly, Kate passed away in 2010.