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: