1. What inspired you to write these books? Are they based on experience?
The inspiration for Rooftoppers came from an unusual hobby I have; I love to go climbing across rooftops, up skyscrapers, and to see the world from up above. One night I was on a rooftop of the old Oxford college where I teach English literature, and I started to think: what if somebody lived up here? What would that be like?
2. How long did it take you to publish your first ever book?
I was 21 years old when I started writing my first book; the first draft took about a month but then all the re-writes took more than a year! I like to write a quick first draft and then edit and edit and edit until it shines. I always say: you can make bad writing into good writing, but no writing remains no writing: so if you get stuck, let yourself write badly, and then come back later and hammer it into shape.
3. Are you planning to write any other books? Will they be adventures as well?
Yes! I hope to keep writing until the day I die. My next book will be an adventure story, full of terrible risks and brave children.
4. How old were you when you started writing stories?
I was about six or seven when I first started to write little stories as presents for my mum and dad - just a few paragraphs long. If ever you are wondering what to give you parents for a Christmas present, I know they would love a story, written and illustrated by you!
5. Do you have any favourite authors?
I love Philip Pullman and Diana Wynne Jones. Of new writers, I love the murder mystery series by Sharna Jackson, called High Rise mystery.
6. As you write children’s books, do you prefer reading adult books or children’s books?
I love to read both! I especially read children’s books when I’m in need of a wild adventure, or something short and sharp and sweet.
7. How many books are you planning to write?
I’m 33 now, and I hope to write a book every few years for at least the next 50 year, so....lots!
8. Do you play any musical instruments?
Not very well; my brother was a professional musician for a long time and he got all the musical genes. (His name is Gerard and Gérard in Rooftoppers is based on him).
9. Will you ever write an adult book?
Yes! I love to write for adults too - I have just finished a non-fiction book about the wonderful poet John Donne, who lived at the same time as Shakespeare, for adults.
10. What words of advice would you give to a 10 year old?
I would say: one of the most powerful things you can do in life is fall in love with reading. Books crowbar the world open for you; they can take you on adventures and they can be like your funniest friend telling you their best story. It sometimes takes a bit of searching to find the right kind of book for you, but once you’ve found it, it’s like winning the lottery for life.