As a kid, I didn't read a great deal of fiction, and I've forgotten most of what I did read.
Madness doesn't happen to someone alone. Very few people have experiences that are theirs alone.
I was born too late for steam trains and a lazy eye meant I'd never be an astronaut.
I better make the plot good. I wanted to make it grip people on the first page and have a big turning point in the middle, as there is, and construct the whole thing like a roller coaster ride.
I am atheist in a very religious mould. I'm always asking myself the big questions. Where did we come from? Is there a meaning to all of this? When I find myself in church, I edit the hymns as I sing them.
I read very, very little fiction as a kid. All the books I can remember are junior science books.
I started writing books for children because I could illustrate them myself and because, in my innocence, I thought they'd be easier.
The most difficult book I wrote was the fourth in a series of linked children's books. It was like pulling teeth because the publisher wanted exactly the same but completely different. I'd much rather just do something completely different, even if there's a risk of it going wrong.
I don't remember deciding to become a writer. You decide to become a dentist or a postman. For me, writing is like being gay. You finally admit that this is who you are, you come out and hope that no one runs away.
I've always really enjoyed writing different things because I get bored very easily.
No one wants to know how clever you are. They don't want an insight into your mind, thrilling as it might be. They want an insight into their own.
I like having my back pressed against a wall and being made to work harder so I don't embarrass myself.
When I was writing for children, I was writing genre fiction. It was like making a good chair. It needed four legs of the same length, it had to be the right height and it had to be comfortable.
Fiction that responds to recent world events is a hostage to fortune, because all momentous events look very different a year, two years, three years later.
Writing for children is bloody difficult; books for children are as complex as their adult counterparts, and they should therefore be accorded the same respect.
I think Britain has this tradition which suggests that if you make the readers laugh too much, you can't really be serious. Whereas, I think one of the functions laughter can perform in a book, as in life, is that it's a reaction to genuine horror.
If you're trying to be a successful writer, and you go into a second-hand bookshop, it's the graveyard of people whose books haven't been wanted.
I thought Bill Bryson's 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' was remarkable. Managing to be entertaining while still delivering all that hard science was a pretty good trick to pull off.
I'm a writer! If you work in an office, it dampens you. It makes you fit a routine. The effect of being a writer is not dissimilar to being long-term unemployed. And everyone knows that is not good for you.
It took me a long time to come out as someone who doesn't like film. It's a bit like when people say they don't like books: you get that sharp intake of breath.
I'm really interested in the extraordinary found in the normal. Hopefully, my books don't take you to an entirely different place but make you look at things around you.