1) Why children's books? Did you choose this genre or 
were you 'chosen' by it? 
My very first book was non-fiction for adults, but
I rapidly moved into writing children's books.
It's a genre I love - I read lots of children's
books myself. It also suits my style as I
naturally write short, fast moving stories.
Non-fiction for children is fun too - I enjoy the
research and the challenge of explaining complex
ideas in ways that are easy to understand.  

2) Is there a children's author, living or dead, who inspired you particularly? 
As a child, I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton and Winnie the Pooh. More
recently, my main inspirations are Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels and
Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. 

3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your future projects. 
My most recent chapter book was The Lost Treasure, the last in a series
about Amy Wild, a girl who can talk to animals. My most recent picture book
was Doctor Hoof, a story about a horse who is a doctor who thinks he should
only treat horses. When he moves to a new town, he finds he's the only horse
so he has no patients until he learns that we're all very similar, even if
we look different. 

I've just finished my first novel for older readers which I've written it in
response to requests from readers for a longer book about horses. It's taken
me ages, but I'm really excited about it, especially as everyone who's read
it says it's the best book I've ever written. It's the story of a girl who's
lived in lots of different foster homes and a horse with an equally troubled
past. It will be published later this year, hopefully in the summer.

4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and get published? 
I sold my first book (the one for adults) to the eleventh publisher I sent
it to. Then I got an agent who helped me get started as a children's author.
At first, I mainly wrote picture books and non-fiction. It took me a while
to learn how to plot fiction properly, and I found writing scripts for
animation helped me improve my skills. My big breakthrough into fiction came
when Anne Finnis, an editor I'd worked with in the past, approached me with
the idea for The Pony-Mad Princess and suggested that I write the books. 

5) What's your opinion about this E-book revolution? 
Would you consider the indie route?
 The e-book revolution is very exciting because it's changing the way
publishing works and liberating authors. I've already indie published some
of my backlist that was out of print -  'A Special Child in the Family', my
first book for adults, and 'Perfectly Pony', a collection of horse stories
and information. Doing that was such fun that I've decided to publish my new
novel myself instead of submitting it to publishers. I'm paying an editor
and a book designer to help me, but I'm keeping control and should manage to
get the book to market much faster than by the traditional route. It's hard
work but very satisfying, and I suspect it's going to become the way many
authors work.  

6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use social media 
a lot to promote their books. 
Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to write only, 
without being distracted by digital trivialities: 
what are your thoughts? 
I've been promoting online since 1999 when I launched www.wordpool.co.uk. At
that point, social media mainly involved discussion groups. Now it's
Twitter, Facebook and blogs. They're all a great way to build contacts with
readers and other writers, but they can easily swallow masses of time so
authors need to be careful to leave enough hours for their actual writing. 

Although it's sensible for authors to use social media, I'm not comfortable
with the way some publishers are pressurising authors to do so. I've met
some people where it's actually in their contract that they must blog and
they must have a website, but the publisher isn't willing to help at all
with the costs involved. I believe that the more publishers push the
marketing load onto authors, the more likely it becomes that those authors
will decide to go indie in future. If they're doing so much of the work
already, why not do it all and keep the profits?
 
To know more, please visit: http://www.dianakimpton.co.uk/
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