I went to Jesmond Road Primary School in Hartlepool where I learnt a love of stories and of writing. I was then off to High Tunstall Comprehensive School where I found firm friends for life.
After that, it was Hartlepool Sixth Form College, which I totally loved.
My university was in London. I went to the Roehampton Institute of the University of Surrey in 1992 and trained to be a teacher. My degree was in Philosophy and a four-year teaching course. I loved University! I met crazy people, saw amazing places, did fun things; all fuel for stories that would be written later. I worked as a student teacher in Waterloo, Brixton, Thornton Heath and Putney. All great places with inspirational teachers to guide me.
My final teaching practise was at Granard School on the Ashburton Estate in Putney. That school took me on as a Newly Qualified Teacher and I had a fabulous three years there, teaching in Key Stage 2.
During this time, I wrote stories to tell to my class and to the rest of the school in assemblies. It was at this point that I knew that I wanted to be both a teacher but also an author. I used to take my classes on residential trips to Nethercott Farm in Devon, where I met the amazing author Michael Morpurgo. He was a real inspiration and gave me some excellent advice on my writing.
In 1999 I moved to Holland and taught at the British School of the Netherlands in The Hague.
I got to visit other schools in Europe and learn about a variety of teaching methods and educational strategy.
After five years living there, I returned to the U.K. and moved to Durham, where I now live.
I taught for one year at Easington Colliery School as a part time Literacy teacher. It was then that I also became a part time storyteller travelling around schools and delivering creative writing workshops.
After a year in Easington I took a resident artists post at Yohden School in Horden for two years. It was during this time that I got my first book, ‘Snakes’ Legs and Cows’ Eggs’, published in 2007. Things really took off from there. I became a full time author delivering writing workshops on a daily basis.
I’ve now had fourteen fictional books published, three academic books published, an App called 'Sentence Samurai' and I love my job! I've got three more academic books due for release in 2020 on helping to develop writing in primary schools.
I've scuba dived with green turtles in Hawaii, ridden a moped through the streets of Ho Chi Minh, delivered writing workshops in a prison in Africa.
I’m in a different place every day talking to people about writing, helping them with their own writing and, hopefully, inspiring a love of reading. For me, reading is one of the most important things in the world. It teaches us about our past and can help mold our future. It allows us to climb inside the minds of others and to understand why people do the things that they do. It teaches us to relate to others.
I love writing just as much because it helps me to express myself in a creative way. But my most favourite thing about what I do is seeing others want to read or write. That is why I spend most of my time in schools, in museums, in libraries - telling stories and igniting writing. Hopefully, I’ll get to visit you very soon and we can have fun writing together.