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.