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A publisher turned author

8 May 2023

‘I tried to get the seat at the front of the bus on the top deck - there's a shelf where you can put your coat and bag, and then you can open your laptop properly. So I had two hours a day when I could write, and it proved to me that my hunger to do it was there. I didn't have the luxury of a day a week where I could do it. That was the time I had, so I had to make it work for me...

There isn't always a correlation between the greatest works of fiction and the biggest sellers. If that was the case, David Almond would be selling a million copies. Sometimes it's a happy coincidence that something you're working on seems to be doing well elsewhere. But I try not to join the dots, because the single most important thing is writing the book that you want. That's what I try and do, first and foremost...

I'm obsessed with underdogs. The kids I was working with had been written off, and they had experienced horrific things that the vast majority of the population won't go through as long as they live. That is something that fundamentally really drives my writing. With a lot of these books, it's about empathy, trying to work out how someone who's been abandoned would feel, for example. It's about writing to make sense.'

Phil Earle, author of When the Sky Falls, While the Storm Rages, Demolition Dad and 16 other books for children, and 6 for older readers, in Bookbrunch