What books did you read when you were a child?
All sorts: The Last of the Mohicans, Tregarrick, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Adventures of Tintin whenever I had tonsillitis.
If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
Stig of the Dump.
What is the best thing about reading?
It’s a very cheap form of transport.
What is your all time favourite book?
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro. The story slowly emerges in spite of the first person narrator’s attempts to tell their version of events. The words on the page are like a wall with gaps you can see through. I wish I’d written it.
Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Talk to them. I love hearing my kids explain why Pikachu is not cool after Year 1, who in their class is funny and trying to work out where all those fidget spinners went.
How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
Big. They made a point of reading out work I’d done that they thought was good and telling any friends who were teachers!
How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
My son prefers to read on his own now, which is lovely but also a tiny bit sad for me. He’s just blitzed through Harry Potter. My daughter likes the Roman Garstang books. We take it in turns to read a chapter each. The most effective way of getting them reading is hiding the iPad.
Simon’s new book, Beatrix the Bold and the Riddletown Dragon (published by Piccadilly Press) is out now.