Wellfield Junior School , Sale

Hello Wellfield!

What a great day yesterday was. I loved making up the story with you first thing. I reckon it took the museum people all day to work out the cryptic codes to find out where all the jewels were – and I expect one of them was an emerald hidden in a baby’s shoe. No idea is ever useless; it can always be recycled.

Well done to the Year 5s and 6s as well. I really enjoyed doing the workshops with you – good ideas and questions. Your teachers said you were lovely to work with and they were right!

So thank you for letting me join your school community for the day and making me feel so welcomed. Enjoy the rest of the term and may Watford win next time they play Manchester United.



The picture at the top of this blog is of a wood sculpture in a park in Sheffield. I spend my life taking photographs of interesting things I see.

I’m looking forward to visiting your school on Monday November 23rd. We’ll start the day by creating a story together, thinking about ideas then voting for which ones we think are the best as the story grows.

Back in your classrooms you’ll then work in groups to create stories yourselves. To do this, I’d like you to bring in something that you think might be good to include in a story. Don’t bring in anything precious or dangerous. Bring in something like a toy that’s not from a film or television programme. I have a set of coasters that sit in a tiny wooden rocking chair – so if it was me, I might think about bringing the rocking chair in. Try and think of as many ways as possible that your object could be used in a story.

I’ll also spend time with you as classes when we’ll create another story, I’ll tell you a bit about my latest two books, Us Minus Mum and The Milkshake Detectives, and answer any questions you have. Urmston Bookshop are coming to your school as well and will be selling the books for £5.99 each.

If you look round my website you can find out lots more about me and what I’ve done. Meanwhile – see you on Monday 23rd November and here’s a random picture of a rare albino alligator!

albino alligator


November 2015

I have had a great few weeks on a writing break in Florida with lots of interesting things to see and do and meeting lovely people. The top picture is of a bird’s nest built on a traffic light gantry.

Part of being a writer is meeting people and listening to their stories to add ideas to your own story.

P1030319I’ve spent time researching an idea I have for a book set in America in the 1930s. The internet has been invaluable for articles, audio records and photographs. But so have people who were alive then, like Sylvia who is ninety years old. She lent me the diary she wrote when she was aged ten. It had knock knock jokes, lists of presents she received, games played, movies seen and descriptions of people she knew.

P1030314Jim and Nancy shared their childhood experiences too and I wrote everything down in my notebook over a meal that lasted three hours. The chocolate ice cream dessert in the photograph was mine and not theirs!

P1030315My book is at the stage when I write the main things in each chapter on post-it notes and move my ideas around until I am completely happy with it. Then I use ten different coloured post-it note pads, give each character a colour and for each chapter, write down how he or she will behave, what they would achieve, feel and do. I now have a detailed plan to follow.

P1030311I was in Florida and spent time at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota working with students studying creative writing. I shared with them the process books go through before being published, then we made up a story together about a competition to build a structure with cotton wool buds (or Q-Tips as they are called in America). Great fun to do.

So thank you to all the lovely people I’ve met recently!