What object are you writing about and what were your first thoughts when we told you?
I was allocated Scalextric. My first thought was, “Phew, that’s lucky”. It was such an iconic part of my childhood, I knew it would be exciting to write about. And my brother had a phase when he was into it big time. (Our editor adds: Whatever. I was all-Morden Cubs Scalextric Champion. Two. Years. Running.)
What lost object from your own childhood would you like to own again, and why?
Gosh, that’s a long list. I came home one day, around nine or ten years old, and all my beloved teddy bears had vanished. Someone had thrown them out, although in later life both my parents denied responsibility. But then I’d also bring back my precious Zeroid robots. Have you seen how much they fetch on Ebay today?
(Our editor ads: This TV ad claims Zeroids can go forwards AND backwards. I mean, is that even possible? Wow)
Hop into my time machine and it will take you back to one specific hour of your childhood – where and when do you want to go, and why?
One Christmas Eve spent beside the tree, hypnotised by the colour of the fairy lights and having a spiritual experience. Or one of the hours spent in the penny arcade in Portugal in 1971, while an older local boy taught me to aim and shoot the fairground rifle. A rare moment of comradeship in an otherwise solitary childhood.
Can you surprise me with one unusual fact about your childhood?
No. Born in the East End, moved to Essex. Two brothers fifteen years apart with me in the middle. Totally normal. The interesting bits I’ll keep to myself, thank you very much, heh, heh.
What’s the earliest thing you can remember writing?
The Saga of Ogg the Giant. Written on sheets of Basildon Bond, a page per chapter. The thrill was exhilarating. I think I was about five.