I was born in Northumberland, which is possibly the one part of England where more animals live than people, and spent my early years crawling around on the floor of the children’s bookshop that my mother ran.
My first proper story was written age 13, which starts – ‘Sam was a dog. And like most dogs, he was a detective.’
After school and university I ended up working at the Pleasance Theatre on the Edinburgh Fringe, and then in TV, where I helped develop the gameshow Come And Have A Go If You Think You're Smart Enough for BBC 1, the panel show Argumental for Dave and DSF: Olivia Lee for Comedy Central. I still write for TV, including the recent Boom Town on BBC 3 and the forthcoming Southside (BBC 3)
But after my late father wrote his first book at the age of 59, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, I felt inspired to try stories again and went on an Arvon Course at Ted Hughes' old house in West Yorkshire, where I began to write The Last Wild.
A few years later, it has now sold in 12 countries worldwide and I am writing the sequel, The Dark Wild, due out in March 2014 (UK), with the third book in the series out in 2015. The Last Wild was published in the US this March.
In between, I have also been trained as a Volunteer Reader by the brilliant Beanstalk and am very privileged to be working with them in North London help challenged young readers enjoy books the way I once did.
In a world where animals no longer exist, twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes sometimes feels like he hardly exists either. Locked away in a home for troubled children, he's told there's something wrong with him. So when he meets a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach, Kester thinks he's finally gone crazy. But the animals have something to say. And they need him. The pigeons fly Kester to a wild place where the last creatures in the land have survived. A wise stag needs Kester's help, and together they must embark on a great journey, joined along the way by an overenthusiastic wolf cub, a military-trained cockroach, a mouse with a ritual for everything, and a stubborn girl named Polly. The animals saved Kester Jaynes. But can Kester save the animals?
Age Range: 8 - 12 years / Grade Level: 3 - 6