We spend two thirds of our time in Devon and it is my writing place. After breakfast I go out to the Tea House, my studio if you like, and still in my pyjamas pile the pillows up behind me on the sofa, draw up my knees and rest my notebook on them, just like Robert Louis Stevenson used to do. I stay in my pyjamas until midday as it extends my dream time for writing.”
I was a teacher in a primary school and discovered that the best way to get all the children involved was to read a story – it was the only way to get 35 children focused on something altogether. One day I was reading the children a story that didn’t flow well. I felt that the children were not engaged with the words I was reading.
I went home and told my wife that I felt the children had been bored, that the book was getting between the children and me. My wife suggested I wrote my own. I lay awake that night thinking of a story and went in the next day and at some point the children began to focus. I got quite a buzz out of it – describing the people and places and thought this was terrific. The Head teacher heard about my stories and one day came to listen and liked it. I got a very lucky break and Macmillan published my first novel, It Never Rained, and that gave me the confidence to feel like I could do this. It is a bit like riding a horse. There are all sorts of uncertainties but you have to lose yourself in it and then your confidence grows.