“As a writer I am quite ambitious. My aim is to achieve total global domination of the children’s book market before I die (is that all?). There is a lot of work still to do! It’s another great fantasy! But one other thing should know about me – I never give up. All those rejections taught me perseverance.”
When I was nine I once threw a stone at a boy and it hit him on the head. No doubt Grimalkin was already starting to take shape in the dark side of my imagination! He fell down with blood pouring from his head, I ran away and the ambulance came. I walked around for weeks imagining that he was dead and expecting the police to come to school and drag me off to prison. Eventually I saw him in a cinema queue and was so relieved that he was still alive!
When I was nineteen I wanted to be a rock star (this is before my grey beard) and used to play guitar in a band. One night I fell off the stage and the band just kept on playing. Another time I pushed a lad from the audience who was trying to sing through one of the microphones. I got into a fight with him but the band just kept on playing. Obviously they could manage without me and eventually did. It was the end of my rock career!
I was a teacher for twenty-nine years and for the fifteen I hated it and wished that I was doing something else. I wanted to escape. Then I began teaching Film and Media Studies in a sixth form college and started to really enjoy my job. So when I got the chance to leave I didn’t really want to go. But I went anyway because it was great to become a full-time writer. It’s a decision that I have never regretted.
I am not a ‘retired school teacher’! I finished my teaching job early to become something else – a writer. Now I write for a living and writers never retire – they just fade away into the great library in the sky.
I was inspired by Tolkien and wanted to write like him. I failed miserably and lost count of the times my manuscripts were rejected. Then, under pressure from my agent, I started writing for children. I don’t regret that one bit. The whole of ‘The Wardstone Chronicles’ is my ‘Hobbit’ (or the nearest that I can get!). When it concludes in 2013 there could possibly be a sequel of sorts. If so, that will be my ‘Lord of the Rings’. It’s a great fantasy anyway! Something to dream about.