l always enjoyed words but it took me quite a while to discover that I wanted to be a children’s writer. After university I worked for a short time as a journalist and then for a much longer time editing and sometimes writing books for grown ups. But I always liked writing funny stories and verses. When I was best man at my brother John’s wedding I even wrote my best man’s speech in rhyme.
A few years later, my wife read that speech and said I should do more of that kind of thing. After we had our first child, Theo, and then moved from London to Devon, I started taking children’s writing seriously. I joined a creative writing group and in 2004 took a course run by the excellent Arvon Foundation. In 2005 I sent the text of A Lark in the Ark to 14 publishers. 12 of them said no thanks, but Egmont accepted it. I still have a copy of their cheque on my wall.