Karen McCombie

What books did you read when you were a child?
I have an image of myself at about ten years old, sitting curled up on my bed in my room on the 15th floor of a tower block in Aberdeen, Scotland. The view from my window is of the steely North Sea, dotted with oil rigs. But thanks to the book I’m reading – ‘Little House on the Prairie’ by Laura Ingalls Wilder - in my head I’m in a covered wagon, staring out at rolling prairies as my family head west in the America of the mid-1800s. 
 
If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I’ll go for Ellis, from my own time-slip novel ‘The Whispers of Wilderwood Hall’. Her mother’s project is to bring a derelict Highland mansion back to life, but as Ellis wanders around the ruined rooms, she finds herself slipping into the past, able to view the glory days of the house’s Edwardian past unseen. I would LOVE to be able to flick a switch wherever I was, and see how the same street, home or view had altered over the years. Though I guess books give us that power! 
 
What is the best thing about reading?
Escaping. You can get bored of your own brain’s chitter-chattering, and sometimes it’s hard to switch off! But get hooked into a book and your mind is immediately taken away somewhere else. 
 
What is your all time favourite book?
I re-read the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ series of books every few years. Some childhood favourites - whether that’s books, TV shows or films - have you muttering “Er, actually, this isn’t as good as I remembered…" But the ‘Little House’ series is simply and vividly written, and a real treat to return to.   
 
Best-selling author Karen McCombie has had more than 80 books published, and there're plenty more stories stacked up in her mind, waiting their turn. She loves writing in different styles, for different ages and stages. Recent books include moving family saga ‘The Pearl in the Attic’ (Scholastic), bonkers boarding school series ‘St Grizzle’s School for Girls, Goats and Random Boys’ (Stripes) and the brand-new, quick-read novel ‘The Mystery of Me’ (Barrington Stoke). Karen has two writing ‘offices’; no.1 is the cupboard-sized back bedroom in her house, no.2 is the local garden centre cafe. She prefers no.2, due to the lure of cake. 

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