Robin Stevens

What books did you read when you were a child?
Everything! Historical books, fantasy, contemporary – but my favourite genre has always been crime fiction. I started with Blyton and worked my way up to Conan Doyle and Christie.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I hope I grow up to be Miss Marple. She’s pretty much the ultimate detective, and such a brilliant human being.

What is the best thing about reading?
How connected you can become to a world and its characters. That’s what I fell in love with as a child – and that’s what I hope I can pass on to readers with my own books.

What is your all time favourite book?
Don’t make me choose! I’d say that the book that was most important to me as a child was Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones – it made me a reader, so I could move on and discover Christie and the books I wanted to write.

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Talk to them! My parents let me feel as though my opinion was important (though they always corrected me when I was wrong). That made me into an adult who values reasoned opinions and is not afraid to speak her mind.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
Hugely. My father helped me find all of the books that shaped me as a writer, and my mother read every story I ever wrote.

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
I don’t have kids of my own, but I love recommending books to my readers, or the children of my friends. I think the key thing is to find what a kid loves, and let them enjoy it without criticism. Don’t worry about whether YOU think it’s worthwhile!

Robin Stevens was born in California and grew up in an Oxford college, across the road from the house where the girl who was the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland lived. She has been making up stories all her life.

She spent her teenage years at Cheltenham Ladies' College, reading a lot of murder mysteries and hoping that she'd get the chance to do some detecting herself (she didn't). She then went to university, where she studied crime fiction, and worked at a children's publisher. She is now a full-time author.

The first book in the Murder Most Unladylike series won the Waterstones Children’s Prize in 2015, and her fifth book, Mistletoe and Murder, is out now. Robin lives in London with her husband and her pet bearded dragon, Watson.

Read more author interviews here.

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