Which character from a children’s book are you most like?
James Bond – ‘cos I’m a lean mean fighting machine, with a tender side, but can be ruthless when I need to be. Also I have killed a number of people – well, wasps but what’s the difference? You still gotta be brave, right?
Did you write as a child?
Yes, thank you letters mainly. Usually around March (for Christmas) and birthday (December, for October).
Where do you write?
I have an ‘office’ at the top of the house, a converted loft which is very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter – just how I like it! The radiator is half full of air and I have had difficulty bleeding it because it is above the level of the water tank. (Told you I was like James Bond).
Where do you get inspiration for your books?
An idea can come at any time, sometimes triggered by something you see – like a tiny horse struggling to overpower a fly, but a lot of the time it’s just me sitting trying to think up ideas in a hot attic (Summer) or cold one (Winter).
What’s your proudest moment?
Creating a stink bomb from iron sulphide and citric acid when I was 11. Me and my friend Adam sold them to other kids and made over 60p. The business folded after we failed to keep up with the paperwork.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
Calling the Queen ‘Her Majesty’. It was at The Royal Variety Show in 1997 and we were told to call her ‘Ma’am’ but the moment overtook me somewhat.
Tell us a joke!
What goes 99thump? An ice cream man being mugged.
What were you like at school?
The same only smaller, and I had hair then. I’ve worn glasses since I was 8.
What were your favourite and least favourite subjects at school?
I liked the easy subjects like Art because it wasn’t like work was it? I liked Biology too – it all depends on the teacher really doesn’t it? I didn’t like Chemistry and Physics – which is odd because I pursued them through to A level!
Do you have any pets?
Yes two Fox Terriers – Albert and Ruby (Twins, brother and sister, aged 9).
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
A slow worm because if someone grabs my tail it comes off in their hand and I’m outta there man!
Fresh coffee – because it makes me want to buy a house.
The custard cream
‘Broadway Danny Rose’.
Which of the following totally rules?
– Home and Away or Neighbours?
Home and Away – it’s deeper than Neighbours and covers a wider range of issues.
– EastEnders or Coronation Street?
EastEnders every time because I recognise a lot of humanity in that cast.
– X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing?
X Factor because it’s sooooo cruel.
– Richard and Judy or Fern and Phil?
R&J because they’re forever and love books too.
– James Bond or Jason Bourne?
Bondy cos I identify with him.
– Cake or biscuits?
Biscuits – a drink’s too wet without one.
– Ketchup or mayonnaise?
Ketchup, especially from a squeezable bottle – for accuracy.
– Christmas or Summer holidays?
Christmas – cos Santa seems to now exactly how I behaved during the year.