Name and area where you live
My Name is Giles Paley-Phillips and I live in Seaford, East Sussex
Book name, publication date, who book is published by.
My latest book is called ‘Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball’ but I have a new book out in August called ‘Things you never knew about Dinosaurs’
Is this your first book?
This is my third book following one from last years ‘The Fearsome Beastie’ and my first book ‘There’s a lion in my bathroom’ which came out in 2010.
What is the book about?
It’s the second book I’ve written which has monsters in and also features themes about children’s bedtime fears and not wanting to sleep, something I remember being affected by myself as a child. So The Fearsome Beastie is about a beast which gobbles up children whole!
When did you start writing?
I started to write when found out my wife was pregnant with our first child, I’d played in bands for many years, writing music and lyrics, and I had dabbled with adult poetry, but I really wanted to write something for him. At the same time I was made redundant from my job as a toyshop manager. I saw it as a chance to spend more time with the family, signed up for an Open University degree in English and started writing alongside. And that’s how I got started.
My mum Brenda was diagnosed with leukaemia when I was three and she died three years later. I had a loving dad but I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, who were wonderful. However, with all this going on, as a child I didn’t read a lot myself. I think I felt the lack of reading had left a hole in my life – which I am now filling as a children’s author.
I love reading my books to my sons, Elijah, five and Sonny, three.
How long did it take to write?
Writing stories or books or even poetry happens at very different paces for me, sometimes a short poem can take as long as a full picture book, it just depends how in the flow I am.
Were friends and family surprised or shocked to read it at first?
My books have elements of personal things, like certain characters or themes that I have taken from my own life, I don’t think you can help that as a writer.
How did you get published?
When I had something I thought was ready I just sent it out to several publishers I thought might be interested in it, I was really lucky to have a couple say yes!
Was it hard to get published?
My first couple of manuscripts got taken fairly quickly, but I found the next couple of books much harder to place, it’s the nature of the beast, sometimes publishers only like certain things you write, not all of it!
Any advice for other book writers?
Just believe in what you are doing and don’t give up!
I was delighted that my debut book The Fearsome Beastie won The People’s Book Prize, Bizziebaby Gold award and was Highly Commended in The Forward National Literature Aware. It was also shortlisted for The Rotherham Children’s Awards (Maverick Books).
I’ve also been honoured to receive some lovely letters of congratulations from the likes of Quentin Blake and even David Walliams, who said I had inspired him!
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