From picture books to action adventure, to comic plays & verse to wow non-fiction:

Magic  dragon  LIF

I’ve been writing books for a long time so I’ve got over 200 under my belt (no wonder the trousers don’t fit). Many of them are quite short (the books, not the trousers) but it’s been great fun writing a huge mixture of fiction, non-fiction, plays and poems. Some have been translated into different languages so I’m unable to read them myself!

crashdive  N  tsm

I’ve written non-fiction books on science, natural history, medicine, sport, history, geography, crime and all sorts of mysteries – many with wow pictures (some gross!)

army  ww2  DS  Using Nuclear Energy (Why Science Matters)

Sometimes I’ve been asked to write scary stories to give us nightmares (all part of the job) so a spot of gothic horror now and again has brought a few sleepless nights., as well as tales of villains on the loose. Sweet dreams…


You can see all my titles by clicking on Love Reading for Kids or Amazon

There has always been a need for simple short stories for ‘older kids’ requiring help to get going with reading. Rising Stars (educational publishers) gave a call:  Have you thought about writing a structured set of stories as a phonic reading scheme?
So I went away and slept on it – and woke up in the middle of the night with the title:


Cool Character
Dockside is now in thousands of schools!

Apart from writing for professional theatre, I’ve also been commissioned to write community plays based on oral history interviews – a fascinating source for dramatic material. 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.

Tragiedy/Comedy mask

A lot of us enjoy writing and telling stories. Probably the best advice for anyone starting to build a collection of work and hoping to publish, is simply to keep practising by recording all kinds of ideas and experiences, revisiting old scripts with a critical eye and reading them aloud, then seeing how others respond to what you’ve written.

If you want to be a writer, keep jotting down all your ideas and to have a notepad by your bed! After all, as they say… a professional author is simply an amateur writer who didn’t give up and who managed to persuade someone to pay for their words. Set-backs, disappointments and rejection are all part of the writer’s job - but resilience will bring rewards eventually… so keep smiling and keep at it!

Most writers are asked the same three questions:

1. How much do you get paid?
The simple answer is ‘it all depends’, particularly on how many books are written, sold and borrowed in any particular year. Apart from a few very successful writers selling millions of books, most writers earn below the national average wage by their writing alone. If you want to be a writer so you can get rich, you may have to adjust your plans. The world’s obsession with fame and fortune isn’t for the humble writer grappling with the solitary discipline of trying to squeeze words onto a page each day.

2. What is the best book you have ever written?
Probably the next one – as I don’t know what it is yet! I’m not much good at naming favourite books or authors, as tastes keep changing. I always think that choosing a favourite from your work is like asking parents of many children to pick their favourite offspring. Each one is special for a different reason – so no favourites!

3. Where do you get your ideas?
Many writers have come up with all kinds of witty answers for this one. I just think that if you feed your imagination, it will feed you. Ideas, like insects, are buzzing around us all the time but we are often unaware of them… until they bite or we swat one. The secret is to keep a constant look-out – with your own antennae, net and swatter always twitching. Oh yes, and reading a lot helps.

Best Wishes - John Townsend