Read exclusive extracts from the book…
Favourite children’s book as a child?
‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ by Mark Twain
Favourite children’s book for all ages?
‘The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe’ by C.S. Lewis
Favourite children’s book to read aloud?
‘The Eighteenth Emergency’ by Betsy Byars or ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl — when I was a teacher I remember reading both these books to a class of children and having to stop because I was laughing so much.
Favourite children’s book for a rainy day?
‘The Dancing Bear’ by Michael Morpurgo
Which character from a children’s book are you most like?
I just asked my daughter Daisy and she said: "Percy the Park Keeper". Thanks, Daisy!
Did you write as a child?
Yes, I loved writing stories at school. That and playing football were my two favourite things!
Where do you write?
I’m lucky enough to have a room with a lovely view across open fields towards Glastonbury Tor — it’s a very peaceful place to write.
Where do you get inspiration for your books from?
Ideas can come from many sources — newspaper articles, memories, snatches of overheard conversation — anywhere really.
What’s your proudest moment?
When I stopped being a Headteacher, the people I had worked with over the years gave me a big party and wrote lots of lovely messages in a book, which made me both happy and sad all at the same time!
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
I actually slipped on a banana skin in the middle of a crowded street. Until then I thought it was the kind of thing which only happened in cartoons...
Tell us a joke!
A man calls the fire department and yells:
‘Help! Help! My house is on fire!’
The operator says:
‘Calm down. Just tell us how to get there.’
And the man says:
‘Don’t you have those big red trucks anymore?’
What were you like at school?
Pretty happy I think — usually playing football, laughing — sometimes even working too...!
What was your favourite subject at school?
What was your least favourite subject at school?
Geography, because I could never remember which bits of a glacier came from where, or why...
Do you have any pets?
A cat called Smudge, who sits on the fence making fun of dogs as they go past.
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
A meerkat, because they always look as if they’re having a good time, playing about in the sunshine with all their mates.
Peanut butter & banana sandwiches
Digestive creams — but they’ve actually stopped making them (sigh)
Anything with a good bit of guitar in it.
‘Local Hero’ or ‘The Railway Children’ (can’t decide)
Which of the following totally rules?
Home and Away or Neighbours?
Neighbours, but I haven’t seen it since the days of Kylie and Jason...
— Eastenders or Coronation Street?
X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing?
— Richard and Judy or Fern and Phil?
Richard and Judy
— James Bond or Jason Bourne?
— Cake or biscuits?
Biscuits, with maybe a bit of cake for afters, and then another biscuit.
— Ketchup or mayonnaise?
Ketchup, although actually, if you mix them both together, you get that funny prawn—cocktaily stuff. Try it, it’s lovely.
— Christmas or summer holidays?