John Townsend is the author of a number of different books at Ransom and its YA imprint Raven, including Never Odd Or Even, The Secret Message and The Stone Balancer.

  • What were your influences or inspirations for writing?

Like most children, I soon began to love stories, the power of words and the magic of plays on the stage. My sister and I used to help in the children’s library every Saturday, where the exciting world (and smell) of books began to cast their amazing and enchanting spells.

  • What did you do before you became a writer?

I was always keen on geography (or to be precise, geomorphology) so I found myself turning into a real live geography teacher. I was a secondary school teacher in Gloucestershire for 25 years and wrote pantomimes and plays for the annual drama productions. I was also the Special Needs Coordinator there.

  • What books have you written?

I’ve been writing books for a long time so I’ve got over 200 under my belt. Many of them are quite short but it’s been great fun writing a huge mixture of fiction, non-fiction, plays and poems.

  • Who are your books for?

One of my most recent books, Never Odd or Even, is a mystery ‘whodunit’ with a difference and can be read by anyone but is particularly interesting for reluctant but able readers. I run a lot of boys literacy projects – but girls, you’re allowed my books too!

  • What other things have you been involved in?

I regularly visit schools around the UK and speak at various writers’ conferences/education conferences. The National Literacy Trust named me a ‘Reading Champion’.

  • What else do you enjoy doing?

I write for professional theatre and have been commissioned to write community plays on oral history interviews – a fascinating source for dramatic materials. Collecting true life-stories to portray on stage and in studio can be quite a challenge but a great privilege to turn real people’s memories into theatre.

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About ransompublishing

Independent book publisher specialising in children's and YA fiction for reluctant readers.