ice cream coverWhen I started to write about Ice Cream Star, I knew I wanted her to be a hero. She would be an ideal hero – brave, selfless, wild, funny, and honest. Like a proper hero, she would come from humble origins, and pass through a series of amazing adventures to eventually save the world. But she would also be a real person, not a fairy tale character or a Hollywood product. I've never been interested in writing about character who don't feel like actual human beings.

Last but not least, she does all this at fifteen. That isn't so strange – in medieval times, the sons of lords led armies before they had begun to grow beards; Joan of Arc was sixteen when she first put on armour and rode to war. In fact, young people are both more fearless and more idealistic than adults. If the world is poor in adventure nowadays, it's at least partly because we shut our teenagers away in schools.