Here Diana Wynne Jones talks about "Year of the Griffin; writing fantasy books; and what authors have influenced her own work. Q: How did you start writing fantasy? A: I started writing fantasy, rather to my surprise, when my children were old enough to start reading books for themselves. What they preferred was fantasy, but there wasn't much in those days that was any good. When they had read Kipling, Lewis, the Oz books, and Joan Aikin, they looked round for more, and my eldest son said wistfully that what he really liked was books that made him laugh. There were even fewer of those. So I tried it myself. But as soon as I had got started, I realized that what I was writing were the kind of books that I was never allowed as a child. I had almost no books as a child. In fact, I started actually writing out of sheer book-starvation when I was twelve, but I didn't know about fantasy in those days. What I wrote then were adventure stories, all very bad. But there was in my mind a picture of the ideal book, which was magical and exciting, and humorous too. I have been trying to write that book ever since. Q: Where do your ideas come from? A: My ideas come from all sorts of sources. One book started with my favorite road, chalky white and winding over blue distance; another with a tune that ought to have had words and didn't. My dog gave me the idea for "Dogsbody. Some of them just started from the characters in them, who were hanging around in my hTower, S. D. is the author of 'Assassins of Tamurin' with ISBN 9780380978038 and ISBN 0380978032.