What books did you read when you were a child?
My favourites were Just William, The Twits and Brer Rabbit series. Basically, books about naughty children, naughty grown-ups and naughty rabbits.
If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
The BFG. I’m six foot seven (one inch away from being an actual giant) and like him I often get my words mixed up when I’m talking (not so much when I’m writing).
What is the best thing about reading?
Escapism. You get to be someone else for a while and have eye-popping, bloodcurdling adventures.
What is your all time favourite book?
All-time favourite? That’s a big ask! Probably the Gospel of Luke in the Bible. It’s full of timeless, powerful stories like the parable of the prodigal son and the story of Zacchaeus.
Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
We try to eat our evening meal together every day. Quality time around the dinner table, talking, laughing and sharing news - no phones allowed!
How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
They helped me see that writing was supposed to be FUN, and they always made sure I had plenty of paper to write on.
How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
I love reading with my daughters, who are aged six and nine. I do most of my writing in a public library, so I bring home armfuls of books for them - not the Enid Blyton books I enjoyed as a child, but books by contemporary authors. At the moment my younger daughter is reading the Hilda books (what can I say?) and the older one is reading the brilliant Murder Most Unladylike series by Robin Stevens.
Stephen lives in London with his wife and two daughters. He enjoys visiting schools in the UK and overseas, helping students with their own creative writing. His new book is HILDA AND THE NOWHERE SPACE, published by Flying Eye Books.