I'm very pleased and honoured to welcome Keren David to my blog today! Keren is the author of the absolutely brilliant When I Was Joe and Almost True, which I've read and absolutely ADORED. Her new book, Lia's Guide to Winning the Lottery will be published by Frances Lincoln on the 4th of August. I, for one, can't wait to get my hands on a copy! She is also Find out more about Keren and her books at the following websites:
Keren is also a pretty prolific blogger. Not only does write intelligent and interesting blog posts at her own website, she also writes for Crime Central and The Edge.
Can you tell me a little something about yourself?
I worked as a journalist all my adult life before starting to write books three years ago. My first book When I Was Joe was published in 2010, followed by the sequel, Almost True. My third book, Lia’s Guide to Winning the Lottery is being published on August 4th. I live in London with my husband and two children.
Did you have a role model growing up?
I always despaired of ever being as sweet and nice and good as my mum. Apart from her I knew one person who worked as a journalist - my Auntie Gloria. She wasn’t my real auntie, but our families were the closest of friends, and I was fascinated in her job as a columnist for the local newspaper, and also running the children’s page.
Who do you look up to now?
I admire people who are creative, unpretentious and who enjoy their work, always trying new things and getting better all the time. Victoria Wood springs to mind, and in the world of children’s books Hilary McKay is my current heroine.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was 11 I drew a picture of myself all grown up as a ‘lady writer’. I wish I’d kept it.
Tell me something about the women in your life who have been an influence on you?
My grandmothers - two strong, talented, feisty women who were frustrated by circumstances and couldn’t have the careers they deserved.
My mum – one of the most caring people in the world. She’d wrap us all up in cotton wool to protect us from the world if she could - and can never understand why we don't want that! She’s a wonderful musician and a great teacher.
My sister – she’s just a superwoman really.
My colleague, Jennifer – she was chief reporter on my first ever newspaper when I was a clueless teenage reporter. Without her help and guidance I would never have had a career in journalism at all.
My mother-in-law – now sadly no longer with us, but Minnie was a fabulous effervescent energetic lady, who was interested in everyone and everything, and never walked when she could dance. When she got ill, at the age of 86, she didn’t know what was happening. When we suggested it might be age-related, she snapped: ‘It shouldn’t matter if I’m 86 or 106.’
My sister’s sister-in-law, the novelist Melissa Nathan. Melissa wrote funny romantic novels, which were deservedly best-sellers. She died far, far too young, but she showed us all how to live a creative life - and how important it is not to waste precious time.
Amanda Swift - the children’s book writer who ran the course at City University on Writing for Children which kick-started my writing career. Amanda’s always encouraging, positive and helpful, a great role model!
Who is your favourite fictional character? And why?
Too difficult to pick just one!
What were you like as a teenager and how did you cope with all the changes that occurred?
I was very bored, and I spent most of my time wishing that I was older. I felt miserable a lot of the time and I did not concentrate on my school work. I was very glad to escape school and get a job on a newspaper when I was 18.
If you had any advice for yourself as a teenager, what would you say?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t bother trying to do revision all on your own, that won’t work, you need people around you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Of the issues and concerns that women are faced with today, what's the area you most like reading/writing about?
Errrrrrr…..hmmmm….it’s the writing that counts for me, not so much the issue. I like reading about art and artists.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Only how much I value my female friends. We don’t hear enough about how great women are at being supportive, funny, inspirational and practical. I’m really lucky to have so many wonderful friends.
Thank you Keren, for answering my questions here today! It sounds as though you've been surrounded by some really incredible women!