Angela Fish
Angela Fish

Children's books
Angela Fish is a writer who specialises in intergenerational communication, women’s writing and Welsh Writing in English. She gained her MPhil in Literature at the University of Glamorgan (now the University of South Wales) in 1995, and became a principal lecturer there until 2009.  She also established and directed the Wales Centre for Intergenerational Practice,based at the university, in partnership with the Welsh Assembly Government and the Beth Johnson Foundation.  Her publications include non-fiction,fiction, short stories and poetry, often with Welsh and feminist themes, and she has worked with local schools and communities to improve communication between the generations. She has been in demand, nationally and internationally, as a conference presenter and an invited speaker in her field.

Her first book for children,Ben and the Spider Gate was published in 2015 and the second, Ben and the Spider Prince was released in May 2016. The third in the series, Ben and the Spider Lake, came out in September 2016.

She is a member of the London Book Fair Authors’ Club and lives in south Wales.

gate  Lake  Prince

1   Are you working on another book?
I have just completed the first book of a trilogy, with books two and three ‘mapped out’. Molly and the Magic Mirror is aimed at the 7-10-year-old age group. Book one is The Key and the Copper Horse; book two will be The Dreaming Tree Forest and the Stolen Child, and book three will be The Snow Ghost and the Emerald Clover Leaf.  The next step is securing publication!

2.  What is your preferred genre?
I don’t have one! I’ve enjoyed writing for children and as the ‘Ben’ series was the first that was accepted for publication, I’m following that route at the moment. I have the basic outline of a YA novel ‘on the shelf’ (fantasy/sci-fi), so I might pursue that after ‘Molly’.

3.  What do you love most about writing in your genre?
I love the freedom of the imagination in creating magical characters, settings or plot lines. It’s also wonderful to have honest feedback from children!

4.  What gives you inspiration for your books?
For the children’s books, it’s been my love of nature and the environment, plus my continued interest in mythology and magic. The starting point for the ‘Ben’ books was story cubes. I also find them useful if I’m stuck midway with a piece of writing as they can suggest which direction to take. As for other work – inspiration can strike anytime or anywhere! Overheard conversations; fellow passengers; quirky advertising or unusual sayings or phrases.

5.  Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite?
At the moment, I’d probably say the grandmother in the ‘Ben’ books, as she underpins the whole development of the plot. I have some embryonic characters for future work that might surpass her, though!

6.  What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?
Probably Spindra, the evil spider and sister of Aranya, the Spider Queen.

7.  What is the biggest surprise that you experienced by becoming a writer?
How much work is involved AFTER something is accepted for publication! Editing, proof reading, collaboration with the illustrator, book jacket design approval. Then there’s the continual administration, and profile raising through personal appearances, book signings and so on.

8.  What has been the best compliment?
Probably the feedback and letters that I’ve had from some of the young people that I’ve visited in schools, plus the reviews that have been posted from complete strangers!
I was also invited to do a live interview on the Roy Noble Show, on BBC Radio Wales. Great experience and really good fun.

9.  Tell us a little about your plans for the future?
As I mentioned earlier, I might develop a YA novel next, but I do have the basic format and plans for two adult novels. Fate will probably decide for me!

Read an interview with Angela on Judith Barrow's Blog