All writers have to be readers first When I was eight I got encephalitis and was seriously ill; I spent a year-and-a-half in bed recuperating. I ended up reading what was on my bookshelf from one end to the other, and when I finished, I went back and read them all again: I must have read the Pippi Longstocking books, The Secret Garden and the Moomin books more than 30 times, and when I knew them backwards I was able to make judgements on bits that I liked, areas where I thought the dialogue was good and why – and I still use those skills.
Tourists’ attempted fightback in crucial Third Test in Perth is restricted by indisciplined batting, tight Australian bowling and sheer bad luck
Book published for capital's famously unfriendly travellers
Bernadine Bishop leads posthumously with 'Unexpected Lessons in Love'
Forecasters predict highs of around 30C today in London
Firm is now slashing capacity over winter, grounding as many as 80 aircraft to cut costs
Met Office releases early estimates detailing facts and figures behind 'seventh-sunniest' summer since records began
After several days of rain and falling temperatures, forecasters said large parts of the country could expect highs of up to 27C (80.6F) and dry weather
More than 10 people have died from heatstroke as temperatures soar to nearly 41C
But forecasters said the hot weather was expected to return later this week
Passengers turn down sunshine break abroad to top up tans at home
We can't get enough of the 'superfood' that's catching the strawberry at the top of the market
Short of moving somewhere cold, how do you beat the heat? Tom Peck tried some of the many suggestions for staying cool
Humid air heading up from France as we head for another sweltering Wednesday
UK experiences sixth consecutive day of over 30C temperatures
It is no unfamiliar sight on a British day averaging above 20 degrees – men and women of all shapes and sizes shedding their clothes and taking to public places.