Sometimes I wonder if "being a writer" is actually just an official way of being a big, crazy kid.
Let's examine the evidence. We sit around all day, creating imaginary characters and giving them imaginary storylines to play with. These characters then live in our heads like imaginary friends for months on end, as bit by bit, we plot out their world on paper.
As a kid, I was an only child until I was five years old so I invented a whole gang of imaginary friends to hang out with. Their names were (don't laugh) - Datchu, Gantry (I said, don't laugh!), Mr Jeweler and Cup of Tea. Despite the fact that no-one else could see them, in my mind they were as real as any other flesh and blood people. And I guess you need this same sense of magical belief when you are creating characters for a book. After all if you don't believe they are real as the writer then how can you expect your readers to?
It can get a tad confusing though.
As well as writing my own YA fiction, three days a week I work for a company called Hothouse Fiction. At Hothouse we come up with ideas for children's fiction series, develop the characters and concepts, commission writers and then sell the books to publishers.
It is a really fun job but sometimes my head can feel close to bursting with all of the 'imaginary friends' I have stored there.
Let me give you an example. Right now I am working on seven different books and the characters I am creating include a talking shark, a love-struck teen, a robotic hotdog, a timid and tearful mouse and an Egyptian farm-boy.
No wonder I look confused when people ask me for directions - half the time I don't know who or where I am! Or whether I should reply with a squeak, a sulk or in ancient Egyptian.