Q: Why did you become a Children’s writer?

A: I love to write. I love to write words that make me laugh, cry and words that scare the hell out of me. Writing for kids I can do all that in one chapter.

Q: What makes a children’s writer?
A: Memory, imagination and a huge sense of the ridiculous.

Q: Why don’t you write for adults?
A: I have, and did pretty well with short stories and poems. But I find it hard to be too “serious” and long, long meaningful novels are impossible for a butterfly brain.

Q: Is it fun?
A: The best there is.

Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
A: “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norman Juster. I still think it’s a phenomenal book – an under-rated classic. Now I’d add “Holes” by Louis Sachar and “Skellig” by David Almond to the top of a massive list of exciting children’s literature.

Q: Where do ideas come from?
A: Ideas are never a problem for me. They flash into my mind completely unbidden, with no respect for where I am or who I’m talking to. I often “come to” to find someone waiting for a response to a question. Awkward sometimes.

Q: Do you have any complaints?
A: Hmmm, let me think. Nope. None.

Q: Is it easy writing for children?
A: If you mean is it easier than writing for adults – then probably no – just different. Is it easier than working down a coalmine or driving a double-decker bus for a living? Hell yes.

Q: Are there any drawbacks?
A: Obviously, life intrudes all the time and the constant desire to lock yourself away with just your imagination and your computer can make you feel desperate sometimes.

Q: You won the Kelpies Prize for Tarantula Tide and the Heart of Hawick children’s book award 2010 – how did that feel?
A: It felt TERRIFIC! Winning the Kelpies was one of the best moments of my life and The Heart of Hawick winner was voted for by around 500 school children – very special indeed.

Q: What is the very best thing about writing for children?
A: This morning I got an email saying “I LOVE your book it is the best book I have ever read in my whole life” Emily aged 10. That’s the very best thing.


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