Sam Copeland

What books did you read when you were a child?
Anything and everything! C S Lewis, Alan Garner, Ursula le Guin and the Fighting Fantasy, Choose Your Own Adventure books. I even remember recording my own audio version of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole on an old tape deck…

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
Severus Snape, of course. He’s so deliciously dark and funny. He’s a perfect character, with a perfect ending.

What is the best thing about reading?
The moment where you lose yourself. You forget where you are, you’re totally transported and the book and the characters in it become more important than your own life…

What is your all time favourite book?
Impossible to say. I don’t want to have to choose, because I’d feel sorry for all the other books I loved. 

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Don’t patronise children. Don’t underestimate them. They are sponges and take in everything. Metaphorical sponges, not literal. Obviously.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
I was always encouraged to read from the earliest age. My father also wrote, and the sound of the typewriter clacking away as he smoked on his pipe is a memory that will always inspire me.

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
My children have reached an age now where they squirrel themselves away, reading to themselves. Two of the three have needed no encouragement. The third has been a little more reluctant, but it’s just a matter of finding the right book at the right time. Just keep trying. Books I loved reading to them – so many. From the beginning with Goodnight Moon all the way through to the final hoorah – all seven Harry Potters! There is no more beautiful feeling than cuddling up with your child reading.

Sam Copeland is from Manchester and now lives in London with two smelly cats, three smelly children and one relatively clean-smelling wife. He works as a chicken whisperer, travelling the world using his unique gift to tame wild chickens. Charlie Changes into a Chicken was his first book. Charlie Turns into a T-rex is his second. Despite legal threats, he refuses to stop writing. He is also a literary agent and director at Rogers, Coleridge and White.

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