Her previous titles for Dorling Kindersley include Henry’s Baby and A First Bible Story Book. Her best-known picture books are Amazing Grace, Three Wise Women, and An Angel Just Like Me. Mary lives in Oxfordshire with her husband and they have three daughters. The girls were brought up on myths and legends, of which Mary and her husband have an extensive collection.
It came from the title as did Amazing Grace; some books just do begin that way and then you have the shape of the whole book which arrives as a sort of present with the title as the wrapping paper and ribbon.
Are there any similarities between yourself and Grace?
Many and more important than the differences! “Grace was a little girl who loved stories” – you could substitute “Mary” for Grace in that opening line of Amazing Grace. I still do love stories, whether writing, reading, hearing or seeing them, better than any other single activity in the world.
Do you have a favorite place to write?
Yes, I write in my study, in my house, which is a converted barn about 250 years old, in West Oxfordshire, England. It has green walls, white paintwork, a green sofa and a peacock-patterned throw. It also has French windows on to the garden and a view of the bird-table. Oh, and a cat-gym for my three young Burmese cats.
What would you be, if you weren’t a writer?
I would probably run a small business as people tell me I am very well-organized. As it is I am a business with one boss and one employee – me! My boss is very good to me and if I ask for a day off she gives it to me. (But other times I have to work weekends and evenings and holidays, which is not so good!)
Any advice to aspiring writers?
I have a whole page of advice on my website: www.mayhoffman.co.uk.You can find it at the end of the FAQs. It was written mainly for teenagers who write to me about my fantasy novels, Stravaganza, and want to write fantasy themselves, but a lot of it applies to realistic writing as well.