The Gruffalo author on her creative and domestic routine and how she gets to sleep at the end of it
I sleep for eight hours; I go to bed between 10.30pm and midnight, and read modern fiction by writers like Sarah Waters. I don’t have to turn off my mobile phone, as I don’t have one. I go to the loo often and when I get back to bed, I do an alphabet of flowers or mythical creatures in my head. I’m usually asleep by the time I get to the letter I. If I feel worried, I count my blessings: I let anyone I love or like drift into my head – an old schoolteacher, my husband Malcolm, my mother, someone in the fish shop.
Malcolm is very noble and makes tea in the morning. I do a cryptic crossword before I get up. I have tea and toast for breakfast, deli stuff for lunch and in the evening make a casserole on the Aga. We live at the foot of the South Downs and every day we go for a walk. I don’t like gyms or the obsession with exercising for body image. I walk because I like walking.
If I’m trying to see where a plot’s going, it will come to me if I wallow in the bath. I don’t have a routine but if I have an idea for a new book, I slave away for hours and bore everyone talking about it. I do book tours, so there’s a lot of admin, but I’m not complaining: it is all fun.
We have one son in Scotland, one in Oxfordshire, and seven grandchildren. I love reading to them but wouldn’t pick The Gruffalo. I always say, “Choose three books,” but if they choose one of mine, I’m nervous that they’ll get down off my knee and wander away.
I like eating out or having friends over. There’s a film club in our village, and I’d love to go to the theatre but I am bit deaf and can’t always hear. After supper, Malcolm and I play cards, Scrabble or backgammon. We’ll watch a box set like Breaking Bad, and I like Pointless. I’ve been invited on Celebrity Pointless, but don’t want anyone to discover my ignorance about most things.
• The Everywhere Bear by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb is published by Macmillan Children’s Books at £6.99.
Read more: www.theguardian.com