About Sue Bentley
An Interview with Sue Bentley
More About Sue Bentley
Sue Bentley is the creator of the Magic Kitten series, which includes the titles Classroom Chaos, Star Dreams and Sparkling Steps. She has met and owned many cats and kittens herself. She lives in Northamptonshire.
Place of birth:
I’m a Leo and was born in Northampton, where I’ve lived all my life. Age is just a number. It’s how you feel that’s important. On a good day I’m about 10 years old, on a bad day I’m 120 years old.
My favourite book:
That’s a tough one, as there are so many. ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by C.S. Lewis is one of my favourites. When I was growing up I read anything by Enid Blyton, especially the ‘Famous Five’ adventure stories. I also liked the ‘Just William’ books by Richmal Crompton, because they made me laugh. I’ve always liked anything a bit magical or strange or even a bit frightening, like the ‘Blue, Yellow and Red Fairy Books’ by Andrew Lang and the wonderful ‘Little Grey Men’ and ‘Down the Bright Stream’ by BB – fabulous atmospheric books about the last gnomes left in England – long out of print now. I read these to my own children and they still remember them. More recently I’ve enjoyed reading Philip Pullman’s 3 books in the ‘Dark Materials’ series and also Helen Dunmore’s ‘Ingo’ books. Anything by Jacqueline Wilson is great. She’s just the best.
My favourite song:
Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty. It’s a lovely mellow song that makes me think of hot summer days.
My favourite film:
‘Fairy Tale: a true story.’ This is such a gorgeous film, bitter-sweet, magical and unforgettable. Equal first is Blade Runner - even though it’s quite old now. It’s a sci-fi classic and I’ve watched it loads of time. I love block-buster movies with lots of special FX, but I also enjoy really good historical films. My favourite actors are Johnny Depp, John Cusack and Kate Blanchet.
My most treasured possession:
That’s a difficult one. Most things we own, we could easily do without. So the things I really treasure are my family, my friends, my good health and my home. Next would be my books. I have hundreds and couldn’t live without reading. (I’ve even been known to stare at the back of a Cornflake packet, when I’ve been caught without a book! Sad but true.)
When did I start writing?
Quite late in life. I’m not like some writers who, as children, filled exercise books with pages and pages of handwriting. I always got good marks for writing stories in school and thought that I might like to be a writer one day, but I was quite airy-fairy about it. On leaving school, I went straight to work in a library. It was like a wonderland to a bookworm like me. I read everything I could get my hands on. Being surrounded by books was very inspiring. I was like a sponge soaking them all up. Whenever I read a good book, I’d think ‘I wish I could write like that.’ When I read a rubbish book, I’d think, ‘I can do better than that.’ I think all that reading actually taught me a lot about the craft and technique of writing, without me realising it. When my children started school, I thought ‘it’s now or never.’ I started writing and soon realised that it was very hard work. But I really love it and I’m never going to stop.
Where my ideas and inspiration come from:
Ideas come from everywhere – reading mainly, but also watching TV, listening to scraps of conversation on a bus, talking with friends and school children. The best ones often pop into my head when I’m doing something I don’t need to think about, like going for a walk or washing-up.
My three tips for becoming a successful author:
1. Take a notebook with you wherever you go to jot ideas down. Keep it by your bed too. You might wake up in the middle of the night with a wonderful idea and think you’ll remember it. Trust me. You won’t!
2. To be a writer you must write regularly. Do a little bit every day – even a few lines. It soon mounts up and you’ll be surprised at how much you can achieve.
3. Be prepared to go over your work and polish it again and again until it’s exactly right.
My favourite place in the world and why?
My house and garden are my favourite places. I’m a true home-body and like familiar things around me. My garden isn’t large, but it’s surrounded by a wild-life hedge and many birds nest there in spring. I love to sit by the frog pond and read. I need peace and quiet to write and to be surrounded by my books. It’s fun to travel, especially to meet my lovely enthusiastic readers (you know who you are!) but I always love coming home.
I enjoy reading (as you might have guessed by now!) I love cooking and watching cookery programmes, going to the movies, walking, eating chocolate, bouncing on my mini-trampet (after eating too much chocolate) Meeting friends in cafes (for chocolate cake) visiting the library and bookshops, buying lipstick and nail varnish, which I usually end up giving to someone who the colours suit better than me. Wildlife watching in a nearby nature reserve. Wearing vintage clothes, knitting, sewing. Oh, yes and eating more chocolate.
If I hadn’t been an author:
Find Books by Sue Bentley
I might have been an actress. My friends say I can be very dramatic at times! Then again, I might have been a painter. I’m a some-time artist and print-maker and have had my work in lots of exhibitions. Then again I might have been a brain surgeon, a sky-diver, a chocolatier…
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