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Kit Downes

As a child

While I was born in London; I spent my early years in a small Suffolk village; Thorndon. I had a very happy childhood and used to love going for walks around the woods and fields. Despite initially living for TV, I fell in love with books early. When I was about five, my father offered to take me to the public library in Diss. I agreed out of simple curiosity (it was a big building I had not visited before), but almost immediately became a regular visitor. At the age of seven, my family moved to Norwich and the huge city library and big school libraries were a dream come true. I had been having elaborate make-believe adventures in the garden and my bedroom since I was small, but it was only after moving to the city that I became inspired to be a writer. My main motivation was that I kept seeing or reading stories that to me seemed incomplete; in that the most interesting elements or characters seemed to have been passed over too quickly. The first thing I can remember writing was a story explaining the history and background of a minor Cowgirl character in a Wild West cartoon. Another reason was that I was occasionally bullied at school. I wanted to do something that none of my tormentors could ever hope to. Writing a book seemed a good one.

As an adult

I cannot name any point when I started writing with serious ambitions, but I was 11 when I first attempted a novel (part one of a planned eight volume sci-fi epic), 15 when I finished my first one (about an attempt to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London) and 17 when I wrote the short fantasy novel “The Sword Dancer” that was not good enough for publication, but impressive enough that my literary agent took me on as a client. At the same time, I went through secondary school and sixth form in Norwich and shortly before leaving for university in Bangor, north Wales; I had the idea that would become “Zal & Zara and the Great Race of Azamed.” Before I had finished my degree, it had been accepted for publication and I was working on the sequel.

As an artist

I like to work in secluded spots with music playing to block out distractions and help me get inside the story and the characters. I’m a fast typist and I usually aim to do one chapter or section of a book in one sitting. Whenever I get an idea for a story I like to make plenty of notes about plot and the characters before I start. While I know that some authors do not plan, I find that if I don’t know where the book is going, I can’t get anywhere. I generally work by writing a full first draft (which usually takes 2/3 months) and then leaving it to one side for a few months while I work on something different. I can then return to it and finish it with a clear mind. I usually have two or three projects on the go at once and many others in planning.

Things you didn't know about Kit Downes

  1. Favourite colour is green.
  2. Favourite animal is the pygmy hippopotamus.
  3. Would most like to visit Hong Kong.
  4. No favourite author. I like far too many to settle.
  5. Would one day like to write for film, TV, the stage and comics as well as novels.
  6. Would also like to find the time to learn to paint.
  7. Intensely dislikes asparagus.
  8. Loves humour and satire; particularly about the absurdities of the world.
  9. Does not believe in “literature” at the expense of telling a good story.
  10. Adores Brussels sprouts!

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