My favourite childhood book was Watership Down by Richard Adams - an epic adventure about rabbits trying to survive in the wild. I could not stop reading that book. It changed my life, because I remember thinking it was the best book I'd ever read, and that one day I wanted to try and write something even half as good. And ever since then, that's what I've been trying to do.
I had 90 rejections before I got my first book published. That book was Varjak Paw: a story about a cat who dreams of becoming a great warrior, and learns a secret martial art in his dreams. It will always mean something unique to me, because it was my breakthrough after many setbacks. On the other hand, I felt The Outlaw Varjak Paw was a bit better written than the first one, while Phoenix was a step up on both: an epic story about a human boy and an alien girl who must save the galaxy from the war between humans and aliens. It's a much bigger, more ambitious book, all about the meaning of the universe and our place in it. So it's one of those three books, anyway!!
I love books that thrill me and move me and fill my head with big ideas; books that introduce me to characters who feel like my friends, and take me to places I'll never forget - even to other worlds! Looking back, I think the books I loved when I was young did all these things. They were thrilling, but they also changed my life, shaped the way I saw the world, and became a part of who I am. So I believe the books you read when you're young are the most important ones of all. And that's why I've dedicated my life to writing books for young readers.