Iwas born in London but grew up in Essex, and have lived at various times in London again, Norwich, Oxford and now near Wells in Somerset.

I didn't like going to school very much. For me the best part of Junior school was playtime and football, and at senior school the best part was when I left. But I always liked drama and English though I wasn't sure that the way they were being taught to me wasn’t just a way of trying to get me not to like them at all. And I liked anything that involved me in running as fast as possible over as short a distance as possible, or throwing a ball at something or better still at someone.

And now I write all the time, that's what I do

After I did my A levels (I had to take them twice) I went to the University of East Anglia in Norwich where I studied Medieval English Literature and History. Somewhere about then, reading fiction and writing it became really important to me and I began to think that I'd like to be a writer, if it was a proper job, which it seemed to me that it wasn’t. So I didn't.

But I had to get a proper job when I finished university, so I went to law school and after what felt like two rather unpleasant years there, I became an articled clerk in a law firm in London’s Lincoln's Inn. The clerks were shunted around the offices every six months and for six months I had a lovely shiny table to sit at with freesias on it and a view out of the window onto the Square below, and then six months later I was sat at a desk facing a wall with the blinds drawn all day and no view at all.

Law and me were never going to get on, though I stuck doggedly at it for eleven years in all, only at last I plucked up the courage to give it up, because I'd finally realised that I wanted to be a writer more than I wanted to do any other job. It took me a long time (as in ‘a very long time’) to get anywhere and just when I was about to give up trying, I filled an hour a week at Wells Central School telling the children stories and helping them use the library, and almost by accident ended up writing a story for them in weekly instalments. Unknown to me it was shown by a friend to the publisher, David Fickling. He liked it and in time it was that story that was published as The Toymaker, and then The Feathered Man followed on after that.

And now I write all the time, that's what I do. I'm married to Lizzie – the girl I met at university – we have three children, Jack, Alice and Bea, and we have a garden and an old black dog called Spanner, and I write, and I write and I write.