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Chris Higgins - Author

About the Author

Chris Higgins was born and brought up in South Wales. She now lives in Cornwall with her husband, 4 children, a sheepdog, a rabbit and a goldfish that is very old – well over 20 in fact!

For many years she worked as a Secondary school teacher in English and Drama. Chris loves theatre and between writing helps at the Minack, the open-air theatre on the cliffs near Lands End. Chris also loves to travel and is a great believer in taking control of your own life and making the most of your opportunities. Like her first novel, 32C, That’s Me her subsequent ones are right on the buzzer in getting under the skin of young teenage girls, each of them with characters they can easily identify with. It shows that just when things are going your way, life can deal you some nasty surprises. But coping with them can make you stronger. Love ya Babe is her fifth novel and is just out in paperback.

Here's some advice from Chris Higgins for aspiring writers:

a) Write! So many people say they would like to write but they don't. They make excuses, saying they haven't got enough time, but you always find time for things you really want to do.
b) Read!
c) Show don't tell. The old chestnut! It's so much more fun for readers to work something out for themselves than be told.
d) Read!
e) Always give your reader a good reason to turn the page or move onto the next chapter.
f) Read!
g) Write about the world you know. It's more interesting than you think. People like to read books to confirm their own thoughts, feelings and experiences, to say, I know what that feels like!
h) Read!
i) Write about what you imagine. People like to be taken to other worlds too. Then they can say, Wow! I'd never thought of that!
j) Read!
k) Don't explain too much. Give your readers credit for being intelligent.
l) Read! Read! Read!

...........................................................

A Q&A with Chris ~


1. Where do you get your ideas from?
I don't really get ideas. I get characters. One day one pops into my head and won't go away. I can't stop thinking about her or him. They grow and grow until I think I know everything about them. That's when I start writing their story. But then I discover I didn't know them as well as I thought I did after all, because they keep doing things that surprise me.
They don't always have to be the main character in the book by the way. I got the idea for 'Pride and Penalties' from the character of Gran. In the 1908 Olympic Games, England played Australia in the rugby final. It was a completely Cornish team because Cornwall had won the County Final and had been selected to represent England. I wondered what it would be like to be the granddaughter of someone who'd played in that team all those years ago. I bet Gran would have longed for a son or grandson to carry on the tradition and play rugby for their country. But she had a granddaughter instead. That's where the character of Spider eventually came from.

2. How do you plot your stories out?
With difficulty! I'm sure your English teachers would disapprove of me! I do try! I write a synopsis of what I think is going to happen, but however carefully I work out my plot, like I said, my characters keep doing things I hadn't planned for them. They seem to develop a life of their own and go their own merry way. The worst one for this was Jem in 'It's a 50/50 thing'. I kept trying to end the book but he kept on getting up to more and more mischief. That bit on the train at the end was nothing to do with me!
Sometimes a character I hadn't expected to be very important becomes more and more interesting. Like Izzie in 'It's a 50/50 thing' or Felix in 'Love ya Babe'. I love both of them. They're only little kids and they're not the main characters but they get on with their lives, coping bravely and often comically in the background, in really difficult circumstances.

3. What do you think of your covers?
Now there's a question! I'm absolutely in two minds.
On the one hand they're bright, bold, attractive, colourful, contemporary, eye-catching, easily identifiable and they certainly stand out. Which is great.
On the other hand, they're a bit girly and I'm terrified they'll put boys off reading the books. Cape Cornwall School reading groups did an experiment where they covered them in brown paper and read passages out to an audience and asked who would read these books. All the girls and all the boys put their hands up. Later on they showed the same group my books with their normal covers and asked who would read them. Hardly any boys put their hands up. That's what worries me.
The other thing is, because they all have the same look, sometimes people assume it's a series instead of individual, stand-alone books about different characters.
When you start out as a writer, you don't realize that if you're successful and find a publisher, there are all kinds of decisions to be made. The book jacket is just one of them!

4. When did you start writing?
When I was at Primary school my very favourite thing was story-writing. At secondary school I wrote some very gloomy poems indeed for the school magazine, then I cheered up a bit in my student days and wrote wordy, flamboyant poems in the style of Dylan Thomas whose work I admired. When my children were little I wrote short stories and when I was teaching I wrote plays for the students to put on. But it wasn't until my children were teenagers and I'd stopped teaching that I had the time and energy to write 'proper' books!

5. Which is your favourite book that you've written?
It's always the one that I'm working on at the moment. I really get into the world of my characters and become very excited about what's happening to them. It makes sense, I think. I mean, if I didn't feel excited myself, how could I possibly expect my readers to be? I even dream about them!

I feel so lucky. I actually get paid for being in a world of my own, something I was always been told off for when I was a child!

6. Who's your favourite writer?
It keeps changing. I was brought up on Enid Blyton who helped me to develop a great reading habit which has lasted me all my life. I used to borrow her books from the library every week and get a bag of chips on the way home. Maybe that's why I liked her so much! I liked the Just William books too, I was a bit of a tomboy. Then at the age of 9 I went on to my mum's Catherine Cookson novels, which were far too old for me! I probably didn't really understand what was going on in them. But by the age of 11 I had discovered authors like Richard Llewellyn and Alexander Cordell and I was off.

Nowadays I love reading contemporary authors, there's so much good stuff out there at the moment. If I like a book I get very enthusiastic about it and bore people to death going on about it until I get on to the next one. I loved Khaled Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner' and 'A Thousand Splendid Suns'. I hope he writes another one.

Most of the books I like are character-led rather then plot-driven. If I don't care about the characters, I find it difficult to get into a book.

7. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
a) Write! So many people say they would like to write but they don't. They make excuses, saying they haven't got enough time, but you always find time for things you really want to do. Okay, you may not have time to write your best-selling novel yet, but write something every day and one day you will.
b) Read!
c) Show don't tell. The old chestnut! It's so much more fun for readers to work something out for themselves than be told. It's a bit like lessons. The best ones are always the ones where you find things out in an active way rather than sitting still and being lectured at.
d) Read!
e) Always give your reader a good reason to turn the page or move onto the next chapter.
f) Read!
g) Write about the world you know. It's more interesting than you think. People like to read books to confirm their own thoughts, feelings and experiences, to say, I know what that feels like!
h) Read!
i) Write about what you imagine. People like to be taken to other worlds too. Then they can say, Wow! I'd never thought of that!
j) Read!
k) Don't explain too much. Give your readers credit for being intelligent.
l) Read! Read! Read!

8. How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends. About 6 months from beginning to end, but sometimes the idea--or rather the character--is floating about in my subconscious for ages before that. The quickest one I wrote was '32C, That's Me' which was weeks, rather than months, but I'd been mulling over it for a year or two before I put pen to paper. Actually, I mean before I sat down at the computer. I never write with a pen, unless I'm scribbling notes.
The really good thing about writing books is, it's not just about sitting down and typing it all out. The thinking time is just as important. In fact, it's even more important. At least, that's what I tell my husband when I'm lying on a beach or going for a walk or sitting down in a world of my own. I'm not being lazy, I'm thinking out my next novel!

9. How old are you?
I was born in the 1950s so I guess that makes me ancient. I don't feel ancient though. I don't really feel very much different from when I was 14. Well, maybe on the outside! I suppose being a mum and a granny is actually quite grown up, if I think about it. When I get really old I'd like to be like my own mum. She flew for the first time when she was 83, all the way to Australia by herself.

10. How much do you earn?
Not enough!

Featured books by Chris Higgins

My Funny Family on Holiday

My Funny Family on Holiday

7+ readers

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/01/2013

The second in the hilarious and heart-warming young series about the chaotic life of the Butterfield family from award-winning Chris Higgins.

ebook of the month

Other books by Chris Higgins

A Boy Called Ocean

A Boy Called Ocean

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/06/2018

One boy stranded at sea. One girl back on land. One ocean between them. The only thing willing him to survive is the thought of her. A romance with bite, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Nicola Yoon. Sometimes you have to lose yourself, to find each other. Kai has always been best friends with Jen; ever since he and his mum moved to Cornwall when he was small. But now his feelings are deepening. It's ridiculous to imagine Jen would feel the same, especially since she has been hanging out with surf-pro Macca, the guy everyone fancies. Frustrated by his feelings, Kai makes a snap decision that will put his life in great danger. Stranded at sea, time is running out. With only his thoughts to occupy him, he must face some buried truths about his past. And confront his future with the girl back on shore, if he can reach it ... if the ocean doesn't take him first.

Trouble on the Farm

Trouble on the Farm

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/02/2018

Bella is going to visit a farm! Tom and Kizzy have invited her to spend the day at their place. She'll get to meet the cows, play with Fetch the dog, see the big red tractor and pick raspberries with her new friends. But at the last minute, someone else comes to the farm too - Magda! Before she knows it, Bella's visit turns into a tractor-crash involving runaway farm animals, too many pasties, an unexpected wedding and lots and lots of cow poo! With laugh-out-loud funny writing by Chris Higgins and delightful illustrations by the award-winning Emily MacKenzie, this series is perfect for fans of Kes Gray's Daisy books and the classic My Naughty Little Sister.

Trouble At School

Trouble At School

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/01/2018

It's Bella's first day at her new school and, lucky for her, she's already got a best friend who will be in the same class - Magda! Bella is determined to make a good impression, but with Magda around, things don't always go according to plan. By the time she arrives, she's already drenched in yoghurt and marmalade, and things are about to get much, much worse. With laugh-out-loud funny writing by Chris Higgins with delightful illustrations by the award-winning Emily MacKenzie, this series is perfect for fans of Kes Gray's Daisy books and the classic My Naughty Little Sister.

My Funny Family Down Under

My Funny Family Down Under

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/06/2016

The Butterfields are on the other side of the world visiting Uncle Bruce and Aunty Sheila. Australian life is unlike anything they have ever known before! Kangaroos, emus, frying eggs on the patio ... Will they ever want to go home? Join the Butterfields on their Australian adventure!

My Funny Family Gets Funnier

My Funny Family Gets Funnier

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/11/2015

Nine-year-old Mattie is excited. Uncle Vez's brother and his wife have come to visit! With their Australian guests, life in the Butterfield household is even more chaotic than usual. Mattie just has one worry on her Worry List ... Has Grandma met her match in Aunty Sheila?

My Funny Family Saves the Day

My Funny Family Saves the Day

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/03/2015

Mattie thinks her Worry Lists are over now that the Butterfields have won the lottery! But when the council threatens to close Mattie's school because there aren't enough children to go there her worries seem bigger than ever. Can the Butterfields save the day and keep the school open?

My Funny Family Moves House

My Funny Family Moves House

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/07/2014

It's a tight squeeze as usual in the Butterfield house, and with baby Will's stuff taking up all the room it's getting even worse. Lucinda's house has ten times more room for her family than the squished Butterfields have! Mattie's Worry List gets bigger when Mum seems to be unhappy, and wants to move house. But moving house would mean moving schools - Mattie's worst Worry List come true!

My Funny Family's Got Talent

My Funny Family's Got Talent

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/03/2014

Mum's 30th birthday is coming up and after such a hectic year for the Butterfields, Mattie wants to make it extra-special. Aided by best friend Lucinda, Mattie decides a talent show to showcase the Butterfields' unique skills will be the best birthday surprise for Mum. With a host of unruly Butterfields and Lucinda's parents coming to watch, however, have Mattie and Lucinda bitten off more than they can chew?

My Funny Family Gets Bigger

My Funny Family Gets Bigger

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/06/2013

It's the new school term and, as the baby inside Mum's tummy gets bigger and bigger, the family begins to plan for Christmas. There are lists to be made and presents to be wrapped. But could an unexpected Christmas gift be just around the corner?

My Funny Family on Holiday

My Funny Family on Holiday

7+ readers

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/01/2013

The second in the hilarious and heart-warming young series about the chaotic life of the Butterfield family from award-winning Chris Higgins.

ebook of the month
My Funny Family

My Funny Family

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/08/2012

Mattie is nine years old and she worries about everything. Which isn't surprising. Because when you have a family as big and crazy as hers, there's always something to worry about. Will the seeds she's planted in the garden with her brothers and sisters grow into fruit and veg like everyone promised? Why does it seem as if Grandma doesn't like them sometimes? And what's wrong with Mum? Fortunately, reassurance is always close to hand in this first winning story about the lovable Butterfield clan.

The Secrets Club: Alice in the Spotlight

The Secrets Club: Alice in the Spotlight

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/06/2012

Join Alice, Tash, Dani and Lissa, the girls in The Secrets Club, as they begin their new lives at secondary school. They're making friends, facing their fears and choosing which secrets they share . . . 'This book should be prescribed for all girls about to leave the safety of primary school, for reassurance, for information, and most of all-for fun!' Thebookbag.co.uk

Love Ya, Babe

Love Ya, Babe

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/01/2009

Caught between family life and school, Gabby's trials never seem to end ... If she's not dealing with her outrageously embarrassing mother Posy, or helping out with her troubled brothers at home, she's pursuing school hearthrob, Si, and making enemies of friends. Life seems tough enough ... but then her older-than-average mother announces that she's pregnant and Gabby's world turns upside down. At first Gabby is determined to have nothing to do with the unexpected arrival. Then the baby arrives, bringing complete chaos, and Gabby's family start unravelling around her ... Can Gabby's strength and will pull her through her hardest challenge yet?

A Perfect 10

A Perfect 10

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 16/10/2008

Perfection. That's the key aim in Eva's life. She works hard to be the girl all the other girls wish they could be: pretty, popular, smart and the queen of her gymnastics clique, the 'Jimmies'. She seems to have it all. But the arrival of new girl Patty threatens Eva's perfect life and soon her mother's in rehab, her father's absent and her best friend seems more interested in snogging her brother than spending time with Eva. With her life quickly unravelling Eva clings to the one thing she can control, her weight. But no matter how strong her willpower is, the dark secret that Eva has worked so hard to conceal seems determined to reveal itself ...

It's a 50/50 Thing

It's a 50/50 Thing

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/01/2008

Starting all over again in a new town can be hard enough but with Dad not around anymore, her Mum on the verge of a breakdown and a kid sister to look after - Kally's life is suddenly full of secrets. When the gorgeous Jem skates into Kally's life and sweeps her off her feet, things finally seem to be going right. But she and Jem grow closer, Kally dicovers there's more than one side to him and that she's not the only one with things to hide. Soon her life is spinning out of control...

Pride and Penalties

Pride and Penalties

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/02/2007

Charlotte doesn't want a lot - just to play rugby and for her Dad to be proud of her. But her brother Will's the rugby star of the family, only he's got very different stars in his eyes. Soon they're both keeping secrets and so is their mum! Plus Gran is acting stranger and stranger... It also doesn't help that her sworn enemy is the one boy she can't stop thinking about.... Good thing she's known as Spider, she'll need all the help she can get to untangle this web!

32C That's Me

32C That's Me

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/07/2006

Jess seems to have it all. She has a gorgeous boyfriend, Muggs, landed the lead in the school play and her best friend Ali will always stick by her. She even gets on well with her older sister! Then her mum is diagnosed with breast cancer and Jess's world is turned upside down. No one seems to understand what she's going through. Muggs is too busy with the play, her dad is never around to talk to and all of a sudden Ali is avoiding her. Jess soon starts to realise that maybe having it all isn't what really matters and maybe the people you thought you could depend on aren't the ones to trust. A fantastic and touching debut from Chris Higgins, undoubtedly a new talent who identifies exactly where teenagers are coming from.

The Secrets Club: The Truth about Tash

The Secrets Club: The Truth about Tash

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 13/04/2004

Meet The Secrets Club. This is the second book in a highly collectable new series by bestselling author Chris Higgins; perfect for fans of Jacqueline Wilson and Karen McCombie. Tash, Alice, Danni and Lissa are in their first year at Riverside Academy, making new friends, facing their fears and sharing their secrets. In the first book, Alice in the Spotlight, we discovered Alice's secret. Now it's Tash's turn. Tash wants to tell her friends the truth about what's happening in her life. It would explain why she's struggling to be in the right place at the right time. But she's promised someone very important that she won't ... 'This book should be prescribed for all girls about to leave the safety of primary school, for reassurance, for information, and most of all-for fun!' Thebookbag.co.uk

The Secrets Club: No Match for Dani

The Secrets Club: No Match for Dani

Author: Chris Higgins Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 13/07/2003

The third book in the popular The Secrets Club series by author Chris Higgins, for pre-teen girls. The Secrets Club - Alice, Tash, Dani and Lissa are in their first year at secondary. These girls are forging new friendships, facing fears and finding their way. Should they keep their secrets or share them with each other? In the first two books, Alice and Tash fessed up. Now it's Dani's turn. Should she admit to her friends that every weekend she plays football with a group of boys who don't even know she's a girl?! 'This book should be prescribed for all girls about to leave the safety of primary school, for reassurance, for information, and most of all-for fun!' thebookbag.co.uk on The Secrets Club: Alice in the Spotlight 'A lively and engaging story about friendship' Chicklish.co.uk on The Secrets Club: Alice in the Spotlight

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