One pig, one journey - and one very unreliable motorcar!
My first books were about teenage life and came from my own experiences and concerns - I was fourteen when I discovered the immense and liberating power of writing and it was my main stay during my largely unhappy teenage years. I wasn't that interested in writing at primary school - I wanted to be a footballer - but I always loved reading. I was a big fan of The Narnia books by C S Lewis, Michael Hardcastle's football stories and Enid Blyton's Famous Five series My favourite books of all were a Mannchester United Football Year Book from 1969 signed "To Alan from George Best" (my all-time hero) and Meriol Trevor's The King of the Castle that I came across quite by chance looking along a library shelf one day. These books are still my most treasured possessions and were the biggest inspiration to me to become a writer.
I've written nearly eighty books now and most of them started as stories I made up to entertain my three children and their friends. I've won a number of prizes, most recently The Royal Mail Award for Scottish Children's Books for the picture book Billy Monster's Daymare. I write lots of different styles of books and for a wide age-range - from teenage thrillers to picture books. I also write poetry for children and adults. I've written spooky books, science-fiction, school stories, funny stories, horror (but not much because it scares me!), thrillers, football... Writing different styles of story about all sorts of different subjects keeps me on my toes and helps to entertain me. That's the first rule of being a writer: you have to entertain yourself - otherwise how can you hope to entertain anyone else?
My work was featured in the BBC series English Express, which won a Children's Bafta Award. I also appeared in two programmes in the award-winning Let's Write A Story series. I am a National Reading Campaign Reading Champion and a frequent visitor to schools, libraries and festivals around the UK and abroad where I give talks and readings and run writing workshops. I am a member of NAWE and The Society of Authors. I used to do all my writing in a garden shed, but I moved to Brighton in January 2010 and had to leave my shed behind. Maybe I'll find a beach hut to scribble in...