Karen McCombie is from Aberdeen but now lives in North London with her husband and four fat cats.
Karen is now a full-time writer but before that she worked for several teen magazines such as J17 and Sugar in a variety roles – everything from Fashion Editor to Features Editor!
Her highly successful series is Ally’s World. Ally Love is thirteen and lives with her weird family in a falling down house in Crouch End. Her eccentric mother’s not around so it’s just Dad, the four Love children and an array of pets including a three-legged cat, a vicious hamster and some stick insects.
When not writing Karen spends her time belly-dancing!
What was your favourite book when you were a child?
It was the whole Little House on the Prairie series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which is nothing like the slushy TV show that your soppy aunt probably likes. It’s the true-life story of a girl growing up in the 1800s, moving from the East Coast to the West Coast of America with her pioneering family in a covered wagon. I’ve re-read the series several times – and now you’ve got me thinking about it, I think I’ll dig it out and start all over again!
If you could be any character from a book, who would you be and why?
Probably Laura Ingalls Wilder – even just for the chance to see herds of buffalo roaming across vast prairies covered in wild flowers (ie, before America got covered in malls, freeways and drive-in McDonalds).
Can you tell us a secret about yourself? Something that readers might be surprised to learn about their favourite author?
Well, my secret hobby (no sniggering, now!) is belly-dancing. I do it with a bunch of other girls in a draughty church hall once a week, and it’s BRILLIANT fun. (It’s also where I got the inspiration for book 5 in the Ally’s World series: Boys, Brothers and Jelly-Belly Dancing.)
Lots of readers love writing and aspire to be authors when they’re older. Please could you suggest a first line (or a title) for them to turn into a story?
OK – here’s a title in the style of Ally’s World: Luck, Lurve, and Deep, Deep Dippiness!