When did you start writing?
As soon as I could write. Before that I used to hum and babble and daydream… it all came in useful.
Why do you write poetry?
I love words. I like the sounds of words. I like playing with them…
Do you write anything other than poetry?
Yes I write all sorts of things. I write lots of picture books, many many stories, some articles, a bit of non – fiction, the odd reviews… tons of shopping lists, To Do Lists (mostly still to do), letters, emails… and questionnaires like this one.
Do you write for adults?
Sometimes – but I prefer to write for children.
What books have you written?
Lots, over a hundred and forty. I won’t list them here – but you can find out more on my website. The details are at the bottom of the page.
How long does it take to write a poem? How long does it take to write a book?
How long does it take to score a goal? How long is a piece of string? These are all impossible questions. The only thing I can say is ‘it depends’. I can go around with an idea or a word in my head for years. I can also sit down and write something just like that…
Do you have a special time to write?
I write all the time. I may not have a pen and a paper in front of me all the time but I am always listening and noticing good words, interesting ideas, arresting images.
Are you writing anything at the moment?
I am always, always writing something. I may not actually be making marks on a page but I am thinking things up, mulling things over, daydreaming…
You like to visit schools. How many have you visited?
Thousands – in England, some in Scotland, some in Northern Ireland, a few in Eire, quite a lot in Wales, a couple in USA and quite a lot in South Africa.
Which is the best or most unusual school that you’ve visited?
Some of the schools I visited in the townships of South Africa were unforgettable.
Did you enjoy school?
I really did like school – it was so much better than being at home (my home life was dreadful).
Have you been on the TV or radio?
A few times – I’ve even been on Blue Peter. A collection of poems I put together was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Award so I went up for the big award ceremony. I didn’t win – but I did get a Blue Peter Badge. Then my non- fiction book Walter Tull’s Scrapbook was also shortlisted for the Blue Peter Award… so I did it all again.
Have you any pets?
Not at the moment. But I used to have dogs, cats, kittens, puppies, hamsters, stick insects – and a frog. And an imaginary pony. Giddy up!
What did you do before becoming a poet?
I was a student, a teacher, a traveller, I had my own business, I was a mum.
What do you think schools could do to improve the way poetry is taught?
Focus on enjoyment. Just read a poem everyday.
What advice would you give to young poets?
Just have a go.
It’s a pleasure.
Why not visit Michaela’s website? Here it is.
Find out more about Michaela’s wonderful Alice in Wonderland book here.