This is the bit where I tell you that I grew up surrounded by books, spending my childhood writing endless witty short stories… except it isn’t, because it wasn’t like that.
I never wanted to be a writer growing up. I wanted to be a professional footballer for the mighty Hull City.
It was all about the sport (football, cricket, tennis, golf) as well as acting in plays and trying to sing in bands.
Reading novels as a young person was a real struggle, but I discovered a love of comics and graphic novels (anything from Batman or Davedevil to Maus), plus novelisations of Hollywood films. ‘Karate Kid – The Novel’ was a particular favourite.
Since University, I’ve had a number of jobs. I’ve worked in pubs and travel agencies, and as a care worker and drama therapist in a residential kids home.
It was this experience that influenced the writing of Being Billy and Saving
My life changed direction unexpectedly when I took on a temporary position
in the children’s section of a bookshop.
It was the best move of my life. The books under my nose there were quite
unlike anything else I had read, and quickly I found myself devouring nothing
but children’s fiction.
It became the springboard to me realising I wanted to try writing for young people.
Lunchtimes were spent in the basement with an old, slow laptop. It was a seriously happy time.
I worked as a bookseller for five years, before taking a job in publishing, and now I split my working life between selling books for a publisher and writing my own.
I’m a very lucky lad.
Home is on a hill in West Yorkshire, with my wife Lou, five children, two dogs and a dragon called Baz.
I spend a lot of time walking the hounds and loading the dishwasher.
I don’t spend enough time riding my bike or writing...