I wrote my first novel at primary school and serialised it, reading a chapter each Friday for our composition class. My first mentor outside my family was teacher John Tunnicliff, who liked The Three Gs so much that he sent me to the next class up, where I read aloud under the inimical gaze of the headmaster's wife. She dismissed me from her classroom with the sneering statement: 'That sounds too much like Enid Blyton to me.' I was stunned. Not until after I'd crept away did I realise that she wasn't throwing me out just because she didn't like Enid Blyton (my idol) and despised anyone who emulated her -- she actually thought I'd copied verbatim from the most famous children's author of the time! It was a dreadful way to treat a budding writer -- but she'd really paid me an enormous compliment.
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 00:00