Born in London, Cressida Cowell, 54, created the How To Train Your Dragon books which inspired a DreamWorks film franchise and television series. Never And Forever, the final book in her award-winning Wizards Of Once series, is out now. The children’s laureate, Cowell lives in London with her husband and three children.
When were you happiest?
Watching my children play together for hours when they were very young.
What is your greatest fear?
Having an accident that meant I couldn’t move.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Unkindness. Negativity. Lack of empathy.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
I don’t get embarrassed. Early in our relationship, my husband and I went to see a movie. I think it was a thriller but I thought bits were funny. He told me afterwards that I was laughing so loudly that the couple behind us were discussing the possibility that I might be on drugs.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
There’s this one wrinkle line just above my nose that I’m not keen on because it looks a bit frowny, but I’m happy with the other ones. And everything else.
What is your favourite smell?
Babies, roses and the wind by the sea.
What is your favourite word?
What keeps you awake at night?
Anxiety. Have I finished this? Will I make the deadline? Could I have done that better? Are the children OK? Is the husband OK? Is the dog OK? Did I leave the oven on?
Which book changed your life?
The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones. I read it when I was nine and loved it so much that I read it aloud to my little siblings and cousins. I still remember the feeling of how it made them laugh. I think it was the moment I first wanted to become a writer.
What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
It’s too bad to repeat. I was 11. It taught me you should be very careful what you say to children, because it can live with them for a long time. I’m 54 and haven’t forgotten.
What do you owe your parents?
A lot – but not as much as they think I do. One of the differences between my parenting and my parents’ is that I think my children owe me less.
What does love feel like?
Warm and golden, and it smells delicious.
What is the worst job you’ve done?
I was a terrible secretary in a publishing company (clumsy, disorganised, hid letters behind the filing cabinet because I was supposed to have done something with them and I wasn’t sure what).
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My children. My marriage. All those books.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Thank You For The Music by Abba.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
The importance and value of kindness. The importance of keeping on learning. Of looking at things from somebody else’s point of view.