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Visit by author Pete Johnson

Visit by author Pete Johnson
Wednesday 27th January 2010 by C. Freeman
Children's author Pete Johnson talked to students about his writing career during a recent visit to Brooke Weston. Pete has written around 40 books and one, entitled 'How to Train Your Parents', has been translated into 22 languages including Japanese, Russian and Lithuanian.

He spoke to 50 students from Year 7, before reading extracts from his books, explaining where he got his inspiration and answering questions about his career.

He often gives talks and said: 'Just going into schools or libraries keeps you very much on your toes. Children have great creative energy and enthusiasm and they do have the ability to look at things from a very fresh angle so I try to make the talks as interactive as possible to generate enthusiasm and an interest in books and reading for pleasure.'

The event was funded by Corby Learning Partnership and arranged by Liz Billett, a team leader from the Children's and Young People's Library Service based in Kettering. Each of the students chose a free copy of one of Mr Johnson's books which he then signed for them.

He wrote his first novel aged just 23 and, as well as his literary career, he has also worked as an extra and film critic. He writes horrors, thrillers and comedies and draws on incidents from his own life for inspiration. Each book takes around five or six months to write and then goes through a lengthy editing process before publication.

Mr Johnson described the plots of some of his most popular books and explained to the students how he got started:

'Ideas partly come from things you see around you, partly from imagination and things that have happened to you. You have to let your own personality just come through the stories. You start with your real life and then add bits. The Ghost Dog came about through my love of ghost stories. The TV Time Travellers came about because I'm really interested in World War Two and started thinking what it would be like to go back there as an evacuee.

'The hardest bit of writing is starting. I tend to find the best time to write is the morning so I try to start early. To be a writer you have to have humour and energy, the worst thing is when you are writing comedy and some days you feel very dull but the best thing is when you really get into a story; when it goes well it really flows.'

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