Photo: Mia Quimpo
I was born in a country called the Philippines. I like to say I wanted to become a writer from the moment I was born but looking at that baby picture, maybe that wasn't quite true.
That's me on the left. That's my big sister Joy, who became a rock singer. She bit me when I was a baby. The younger kids are my brother Randy who now directs films and my sister Mia, who is an architect.
I went to an all girls convent school called St Theresa's College, Quezon City. We wore little blue neckties, navy pleat skirts, and dragged massive wheeled bags full of books. I became famous for decorating blackboards with chalk drawings. I was also the librarian's pet.
Some baby brothers came along when I was a teenager which is why I have extreme nappy changing skills. Armand on the far left is now an animator and Andre (with the cake) is a teacher.
I LOVED READING SO MUCH!
This was me when I was six, the year I realised that words and paragraphs strung together made stories. It was a magical AHA moment! From then on, I began to read everything I could get my hands on!
I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I wanted to become an author.
But how could I become an author? People who looked like me never appeared in books. Clearly, we weren't allowed.
So I became a journalist instead. I had many adventures!
At the time, the Philippines was ruled by a cruel dictator. We overthrew him in an uprising known as the People Power Revolution.
In the midst of the revolution, I met an Englishman, who was to become my husband. Can you spot him in the crowd on this magazine cover?
We moved to London and children started appearing in our house. Three children in all. LOUD children. I found myself changing nappies again.
It was when my children didn't require nappy changing anymore I remembered my long ago dream to write books. I wanted to write fiction for children. I joined an organisation called the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators or SCBWI or Scooby. I thought if I wrote everyday I would soon be published. How hard could it be?
NINE YEARS OF REJECTIONS LATER ...
I joined a SCBWI competition called Undiscovered Voices and ...
A PUBLISHER SPOKE!
I want to publish your book!
... AND I BECAME AN AUTHOR.