What books did you read when you were a child?
I didn't! Not novels anyway. I devoured comics such as Roy of the Rovers, the Beano, and Batman. There had to be pictures, otherwise I lacked the confidence or the interest to keep reading.
If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I would be one of two Stanleys - either Flat Stanley by Jeff Browne or Stanley Yelnats from Louis Sachar’s Holes. Both of their lives are stacked with adventure…
What is the best thing about reading?
Getting to the end. That sense of satisfaction that you made it!
What is your all time favourite book?
Probably Louis Sachar’s Holes. It’s short, punchy, it plays with time, it's a comedy/drama/mystery/western – and under 250 pages long! Heaven.
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. As often as they can. Even if they’re too young to talk back.
How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
My parents are and were always hugely supportive people, but not necessarily of my writing. To be honest, it took me by surprise that I became a writer, so lord knows how shocked they were. They are very proud now (and buy WAY too many copies of my books).
How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
I just put time aside for them. Bedtime, obviously, but also other times of the day. Plus I read the stuff they read. If they see me interested in their comics or stories then it encourages them. And I won’t be limited in what I read with them. We read comics together, or Match of The Day magazine or matchday programmes. It doesn't have to be a BOOK!
Phil Earle was born and raised in Hull. His first job was as a care worker in a children’s home. Phil then chose the more sedate life of a bookseller, and now works in children’s publishing. He is the author of several award-winning novels including Being Billy which won the 2012 weRead Award and was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award.