Lucy Coats was born in Hampshire, had a madly exciting time at Edinburgh University, then worked as a sober-ish London children's book editor for several years. After that she jumped the fence from publishing into the much greener writers' fields and had her first picture book published in 1991. She has since gone on to write many other children's books, including Greek Beasts and Heroes - her new 12-book series of myth retellings. Lucy lives in Northamptonshire among muddy watermeadows filled with sheep. She blogs at Scribble City Central about writing and all that stuff.
Why do you blog? > I started blogging as a kind of experiment in putting a writer's daily life online, but it seems to have evolved all by itself and now I find I enjoy weekly blogging about my eccentric attitudes to writing pitfalls and problems - as well as having lively comment debates about children's book-related stuff and mythological matters.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Don't expect miracles and 1000 followers on day 2. Don't let it become a millstone; it shows if it's an unwelcome effort to blog. Other than that: Find your voice, promote yourself shamelessly, focus and plan.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Homer, Ovid, Robert Graves.
What are you reading at the moment? > The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer and Jane Austen.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Depends what you mean by 'best'. If you mean the one I'd take to a desert island, then Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.
What is your favourite poem? > 'The Heart's Desire is Full of Sleep' by Ruth Pitter.
What is your favourite song? > 'Voi che sapete' from The Marriage of Figaro.
Who is your favourite composer? > Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I used to believe in the death penalty for people like the Moors murderers. I still think the world would probably be better off without such people, but I now don't think any judicial system should have the power to condemn a criminal to death.
Who are your political heroes? > Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'The ballot is more powerful than the bullet.'
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Get rid of the petty red tape, idiotic blame culture, stupid elf-and-safe-tea excuses and plodding bureaucracy.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > A combination of religious bigotry, hatred and intolerance - and the fact that our leaders never ever seem to learn the lessons which history has to teach us about war and its longterm effects on the human psyche.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Laugh often, hug the people you love often, forgive and forget before nightfall always.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > No. The arguments might be stimulating to the intellect, but I should find them utterly exhausting and divisive in the end.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Tolerance.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Arrogance.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I have a prejudice about people who judge by appearance and not by words or character or deeds.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Look before you leap.'
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Going to the gym.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Sort out the last row I had with my dad and give him a hug. He died before I saw him again and had the opportunity to do either.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > In a small cottage by a river with the mountains behind. On my own. In Southern France. Probably.
What would your ideal holiday be? > One with lots and lots of books in it, a comfortable chaise longue, a huge parasol and warmth. Oh, and someone to do all the cooking and clearing up.
What is your most treasured possession? > My copy of The Secret Garden by F. Hodgson Burnett. It's a second edition, and belonged to my grandmother.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > I'd be chef-proprietor of a very small country restaurant in France, just open at lunchtime, for four days a week, and I'd grow all my own produce.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Michael McIntyre.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > Well, I wouldn't have any debts for a start. That would be a change. Other than that, I'd make sure the family were okay, and then have huge fun being an anonymous benefactor to help people, charities and causes I believe in with every penny of the rest of it. My own life is pretty fine as it is.
What animal would you most like to be? > I hover between a bear (hibernation is good) and a wolf (biting people is fun).
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]