Simon Cheshire is an established children's writer who has been visiting schools, libraries and literary festivals for well over a decade. He's the author of many bestsellers for older children, including the Saxby Smart detective stories, the action-packed 'SWARM' series, and titles such as 'They Melted His Brain!' and 'Totally Unsuitable For Children'.Simon was a dedicated reader from a very young age, and started writing stories when he was in his teens. Since his first book appeared in 1997, his work has been published in various countries and languages around the world. He writes in a tiny room crammed with books, letters from readers and empty chocolate bar wrappers. His titles have been shortlisted for the Lancashire Book Of The Year Award and the South Lanarkshire Book Award, and in the US have twice been voted 'Best Book For The Teen Age' by the New York Public Library. He won the 2012 Portsmouth Book Award for 'Deadline'.
Simon lives in Warwick with his wife and children, but spends most of his time in a world of his own."Simon Cheshire writes comedy mysteries better than anyone. Young readers will love this: there are thrills and humour throughout and good mental exercise as well." - Carousel (on the Saxby Smart books)
"I wish this book would be bought in its thousands by schools and that all pupils should have to read it... It's a book which celebrates the empowering freedom of the word and the right to expression." - Indie Book Review (on You've Got To Read This).
Q&A with Simon Cheshire
What inspired you to write for reluctant readers?
I get quite evangelistic about the joys of reading, and it genuinely upsets me when kids say they find books boring. I feel I have a duty to write stuff that those kids will like!
What challenges do struggling readers face when they open a book?
Distraction. The lure of the screen is very strong.
What is your favourite type of character to create?
One who's a bit odd, a bit eccentric. My stories seem to be littered with larger-than-life oddballs. Quite what that says about me, I don't know.
What features and methods do you use to ensure that your books have that High Interest appeal that really engages young readers?
I think back to what interested me and grabbed my attention when I was that age. If me-as-a-kid would have found it exciting, or funny, then so does me-as-a-writer.
Can you give us any teasers of what to expect in your Teen Read?
Nasty. Little. Monsters.
What are the major themes of your work?
I'm not really conscious of having particular concerns, or tackling particular issues, but crime and espionage tend to feature quite a lot. I'm a huge sci-fi geek, so that tends to filter through into my work too!
What controls do you place on the vocabulary you use and how important is this?
I totally disagree with the idea that kids are put off reading when they meet unfamiliar words. What they're put off by is poor story-telling. Kids eat new words for breakfast, if they turn up in stories kids enjoy and want to read.
What is your favourite children's book?
Of all time? The Hobbit. Of my own? Pants On Fire.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers/authors?
Read. Always. The very best training for any writer is to be a big reader.
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