The Author Hotline
being developed by CW4K, or Creative Writing 4 Kids. They are the company behind a website that enables children to create and publish their own stories online. In its first year it has signed up over 2000 members and has been enthusiastically received by children, parents and teachers. In fact the response has been so encouraging that they are planning a huge expansion of its services. Embedding The Author Hotline into the site is part of that expansion...
For more information on CW4K CLICK HERE
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A revolutionary leader. I used to listen to Holst's "The Planet Suite" in assembly and dream of leading all the kids out of the hall in a protest against having to go to school.
Q: What were you like at school?
Well-behaved and mad about sport.
Q: Which three words describe you best?
Ask my wife.
Q: What is your favourite word?
Q: What are you afraid of?
Being normalised - I don't like doing what the rest of society tells me to do.
Q: When did you last have a really good laugh?
January 2009 - rolling around in the snow and sledging with my four younger children and my wife. There were a lot of collisions, some of them deliberate.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
My great big motorhome. It enables me to escape in a very short space of time. I think I'd really like to live in it instead of a house.
Q: What do you do as a hobby?
Travel and play football in as many parks as I can find and with as many nationalities of footballer as happen to be around at the time. So far, I've beaten the French, the Swiss, the Romanians and the Spaniards. Is it too late for an England call-up?
Q: What strange habits do you have?
Exercising in European car parks - must keep fit at all times.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
Anything that's cooked by somebody else. For eight long years I owned a restaurant and cooked for thousands of other people. Now I have six kids and a wife and I'm still cooking. Perhaps if I come to your school you'd like to turn up with a nice hot meal for me. On the drinks side, I love proper coffee but the teachers drink all that instant rubbish in the staff room because they're too busy worrying about work!
Q: What do you day dream about?
Saving the world - I think they should make me the Minister for Education. I seriously think I could make schools better places in which to learn. Kids would enjoy the learning process, teachers would work less and everybody would lose the frowns on their faces. I'd even come and get stuck in myself - oh, and play lots of football of course.
Q: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
Bringing up six children. I never thought I'd be able to do it as well as I do.
Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Acting - but on my own terms. I wouldn't want to appear in any rubbish TV programmes. I rather fancy myself as a stand-up comedian. In fact, in some schools the kids are so nutty that this is exactly what I have to be to help them calm down.
Q: Do you feel younger or older than your current age?
I am ageless and I don't want to say any more than that.
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Jesus because I think his parables and his teachings are so inspiring. These are a great guideline on how to live your life so as to benefit other people as well as yourself. Many other prophets teach similar lessons in other religions.
Q: What quality do you most admire in a person?
The determination to use their talents to the full, whatever they may be.
Q: What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
Cuba. People I met there had very little but were willing to share everything with me. It taught me the old lesson that too many belongings don't bring happiness in life.
Q: What would you most like to change about yourself?
Nothing at present. I think at long last I like myself the way I am.
Q: What has life taught you?
To never stop asking questions - ask people questions and you'll make friends and find out useful information. Ask questions of authority because they do not always get things right.
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
I like the quote from Nelson Mandela in which he advises people to walk tall and to be proud of themselves for what they are. This is similar advice to that given to me at school - "do your best, nobody can ask any more than this."
Q: How long have you been a writer?
Seriously for 13 years though I began by writing lyrics for my band when I was 13 years old.
Q: Was there a specific moment in your life when you decide to become a writer?
Yes - March 2000. I decided to sell my restaurant and become a full-time writer instead of a part-time writer.
Q: Where do you do your writing?
At the moment, in a very cold kitchen (8 degrees Centigrade) but my favourite locations are cafes, car parks, campsites and beaches around Europe.
Q: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
Best thing - finishing a book. Worst thing - having to start another one.
Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?
Q: Which of your own characters do you most identify with?
Dad, in the trilogy "Souls of the Sea". Currently only the first book is published - "Midnight Mystery" but the others will be ready soon.
Q: What do you do to combat “writers’ block”?
Try, try and try again. Most of the time this works. Taking exercise is also very useful and I encourage kids in schools to do the same.
Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
There were no books in our house and my parents never read to me. I discovered George Orwell when I was 16. Nowadays I read a lot of children's books and my favourite is "Goodnight, Mr Tom".
Q: What book do you wish you had written?
"Cosmic" by Frank Cotterell Boyce. It's a very clever book and very funny.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Keep on writing and don't expect to earn lots of money. This will keep the pressure off and allow you to enjoy the creative experience.
Learning to Fly
The White Book
Two into One
The Elf who sang the King to sleep
Go Teddy Go - CD