FAQ

1. Where do you get your ideas from?

This guy I know in Liverpool. His name is Steve. I’ve known him for years. He knows someone who knows someone who thinks he saw someone famous in Tescos but he’s not sure who. No but seriously. Oh right. Well I don’t get them from one particular place it that’s what you’re thinking. I get them from things I see and things I hear. I get them from my children. I get them when I’m driving and can’t write them down then by the time I can write them down I’ve forgotten what they were. I get them from all over the place basically. Sometimes I go for a walk specifically to think of ideas. Sometimes they just pop into my head completely unannounced. Does that help? Not really but thanks anyway.

2. What did you want to be when you were little?

Big.

…No but seriously.

Oh right. Well when I was really little I wanted to be a bus driver. Then when I wasn’t quite so little I wanted to be a footballer and play for Nottingham Forest. Either that or a zoologist. Bizarrely I also wanted to be a jockey at one point. I’ve no idea why. I didn’t like horse racing. From the age of maybe eleven all I wanted to do was be in the merchant navy. That one stuck. I was in the merchant navy – from the age of 16 to 23. Much as I’d love to be able to say that I always wanted to be a writer – the truth is that I didn’t. I always loved writing when I was at school and I suppose I must’ve been pretty good at it – but no, I don’t think I ever actually went home and announced that that’s what I wanted to do. By the way I’d still like to play for Forest.

3. What was your first job?

Tidying my room.

…And after that?

Paper boy.

…Yes but then what?

Merchant navy.

…Why didn’t you say that in the first place?

It wouldn’t have been so funny.

4. How many books have you had published?

Fourteen so far. Lots more out in 2013, including another Norm book and 2 hilarious (even though I say so myself)  books on koala bears as part of the Awesome Animals series.

5. When was the first one published?

1998. It was a picture book called Somewhere Out There. In fact it still is. It rather sank without trace I’m afraid although weirdly it was also published in Slovenia. Not that there’s anything weird about Slovenia you understand. Anyway it was published by Hutchinson Books/Random House if you’re interested. Or even if you’re not. Actually I’m hoping that if I ever become fabulously successful and popular they might republish it because it’s fantastic and the illustrations are just gorgeous. Don’t believe that stuff about not judging a book by it’s cover by the way. Sometimes you can. In fact you nearly always can judge a picture book by it’s cover. So there.

6. What’s your favourite ever book?

Normally the one I’ve just finished reading. I’m very impressionable like that. I really don’t think I have an all-time favourite though. Bit of a rubbish answer I’m afraid but it’s true.
When I was five or six I suppose my favourite book was whatever annual I got for Christmas that year. Then when I was a bit older it would have to be the latest Blue Peter annual. Don’t knock annuals. If they get you reading it’s fine by me. Again, I’d love to be able to say that I faithfully reread the entire Chronicles Of Narnia at least once a year. But I didn’t.

7. Are you rich?

Compared to someone who’s poor? Yes I suppose I am. Compared to someone who’s very rich? No, I’m not.

8. What would you say to anyone who wants to be a writer?

I’d say that if you’ve got a pen or a pencil or a PC and you can string a minimum of two words together then you already are a writer. I’d say don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t write. I’d say keep doing it. I’d say don’t try and rip me off because I know where you live. I’d say good luck.

9. How old are you?

Very.

10. Do you know J.K.Rowling?

Yes. She’s the woman who wrote Harry Potter isn’t she? And whilst we’re on the subject – yes there was a time when I was consumed with bitterness and jealousy – any writer who says they aren’t, or weren’t is telling porkies frankly. But hey, I’m over it now. And besides – anybody who gets millions of people to pick up a book who otherwise wouldn’t have is all right by me. So gawd bless ‘er vicar, that’s what I say.

…I meant do you know her personally?

Oh right. No I don’t. Thank you. Don’t mention it.

11. What’s the Norwegian for Yo! Diary! Johnny?

Funny you should ask. It’s Hei Dagbok!

Any other questions?

 

Contact me and ask them yourself if you like. State a preference for a funny answer, a reasonably funny answer or a completely straight answer. Cheers.