60 Seconds with Sarah

This is a quick q and a I did for Bord Gais last night - as you can see, I didn't answer all the questions as I couldn't think of a super power I'd like at midnight! Wonder Woman's energy springs to mind this morning as I yawn. I'll wake up soon ;).I'm off to West Cork on Friday to write and have a lovely 2 week holiday, so I won't be posting much for the next 3 weeks - have a brilliant July and talk soon. Yours in writing, Sarah XXX

60 Seconds with……….Sarah Webb

1. What was the last book you read? The Help by Kathryn Stockett, about the world of black maids and the families that hire them. Set in Mississippi in the 1960s, it has some fantastic characters and knock out scenes. I loved it and would highly recommend it.

2. What kinds of books do you most enjoy reading? I read all kinds of books, including books for children and teenagers, which often have brilliant characters and cracking plots. For example I'm off on holidays at the end of this week and I've packed the following: So Much to Tell by Valerie Grove, the biography of Kaye Webb, ex-editor of Puffin Books she was amazing and had such an impact on children's publishing; The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller - as I've heard great things about it; Joseph O'Connor's Ghost Light - he writes beautifully; The Love Verb by Jane Green - she's one of the best popular fiction writers around when she's on form; Rules for a Perfect Life by Niamh Greene - great Irish popular fiction; Moneyball by Michael Lewis, a book about baseball and the legendary Oakland A's - I love good sports books!; Personally I Blame My Fairy Godmother by Claudia Carroll and No Ordinary Love by Anita Notaro - more great Irish popular fiction; The Radleys by Matt Haig - zingy crossover vampire book with a difference; and finally Stories from the Queen of Teen Award - stories from last year's shortlisted authors, as I've been shortlisted this year. Oh and also the proofs of John Boyne and David Almonds' new children's novels. Phew! Will I get through them all - just watch me!

3. What was your favourite book as a child? As a child and now my favourite book is Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. It's funny, searingly honest and it makes me smile. I read it every year. I also love Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. I still read a lot of children's books as they are so darned good!

4. What author past or present most inspires you? Judy Blume first off for changing teen girl's fiction forever. Periods, bras, divorce, peer pressure, bullying - it's all in there - she was the Jackie Wilson of her day and is still writing for children now, well into her seventies. And also Marian Keyes for being so honest in her books and also so honest in speaking about her personal life. Her recent blog entries on her 'black dog' depression have been so moving and I know have made a difference to other people who have exprienced similar feelings, myself included.

5. How did you get into writing? Was writing something you always wanted to do? I used to fill notebooks full of stories from about age 10, and a kept daily diary from 13. I think a lot of writers try to make sense of the world by writing about it from a pretty early age. Plus I've always been a huge reader. I used to read while walking home from school and bumped into many lamp posts and tripped over many dog leads in my day! I think most big readers try writing at some stage. I wrote my first book, a children's cookery book, as a single mum working in Waterstone's Bookshop on Dawson Street. To be honest, I needed the money. I'd been writing articles and reviews for various papers and magazines and I guess I saw a book as the next logical step. It was called Kids Can Cook. My first adult novel, Three Times a Lady, was published in 2000. That was directly inspired by Maeve Binchy, Patricia Scanlan, Sheila O'Flanagan, Cathy Kelly, and Marian Keyes - all trail blazers in their own way.

6. If you could have written any book throughout history which would you pick? Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret. It's inspired. And The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler, another brilliant book. I'm sure I'm supposed to say something high brow like Ulysses, but that's just not me. For me, in novels, the character is the thing. To fall in love with a book, I have to love the characters.

7. What do you do to unwind? Read! Walk the pier in Dun Laoghaire. Chat to friends. Watch Grey's Anatomy (the only telly programme I watch) or a DVD.

8. If you had to choose a favourite holiday memory, what would it be?

9. Do you have a guilty pleasure? If so, what is it?

Sport movies or films with any kind of sport in them - it's true. I don't watch sport on the television, ever, but I love films like Field of Dreams, Jerry Maguire, and Bend it Like Beckham. 10. What super power would you most like to have?

11. If you could have three wishes come true, what would you wish for?

12. When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? A ballerina. I never dared dream of being a writer. I think I wanted it too much to even dream about it for fear of jinxing things.

13. What famous person dead/alive would you most like to meet and why? Maurice Sendak, because he has produced some truly amazing books and I have a feeling he's just a big kid at heart!

14. What three words would describe you best?

15. Do you have a facebook or twitter account? Yes, I like Facebook very much. It's a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, and it also makes it nice and easy for readers to pop in and just say 'hi'. I love connecting with readers. I don't Twitter. I waste enough time on Facebook.

16. Who would you most like to write your biography? Martina Devlin, novelist and columnist. Although she probably knows me a little too well for my liking!

17. What three items could you not live without? Books, my family, my laptop. Oops, sorry, that should of course read - my family, books, my laptop.