Mitch Johnson

What did you read when you were a child?
I loved reading adventure stories and anything with a magical or supernatural twist, such as Artemis FowlRedwall and Goosebumps. I also devoured the Horrible Histories series and remember being fascinated by a book called Disaster! Catastrophes That Shook the World, which seems a bit strange now but I think I turned out okay!
 
If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
Peter Pan! Imagine being able to fly and fight dastardly pirates and never having to grow up! My second choice would probably be Mowgli from The Jungle Book because I love animals and would quite happily relocate to the jungle.
 
What is the best thing about reading?
Reading is one of the best ways to learn about the world we live in (and all the other worlds we can only imagine). Books allow us to meet people in distant places and see how they live, and these experiences can then help us to create a better world for everyone. I really do believe that reading (and readers!) can change the world.
 
What is your all time favourite book?
My favourite book is probably The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It's a combination of all the things that interested me when I was younger: adventure, bizarre characters, riddles, facts and trivia. I loved The Phantom Tollbooth so much that the school librarian let me keep the copy I'd borrowed!
 
Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children's communication skills?
I think parents should make time every day to have an engaging conversation with their children - ask questions, really listen to the answers, and then ask some more questions. Children see the world in unique and brilliant ways, and encouraging them to articulate their points of view not only develops a vital skill, it also reveals endlessly fascinating interpretations of the world.
 
How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
My mum is a primary school teacher, so I was very lucky to have someone at home who knew how to develop the skills I was being taught at school. My dad reads a lot, and I think having someone around who set that example - that you could still be interested in books as an adult - made being an author seem like a possible path.
 
After graduating from the University of East Anglia with an award-winning first class degree in English Literature with Creative Writing, Mitch completed Kick, his debut novel. He was inspired to write it while working in a sports shop where he discovered a discarded, crumpled drinks sachet left in a shoebox between a brand-new pair of football boots. Mitch now works as a bookseller at Waterstones in Norwich, and writes in his spare time.

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