Mark Powers is an author of children' books (his latest, 'Spy Toys: Out of Control' has just been published). I first met Mark many years ago when we were both working in theatre and it was clear then that he was going to have to find a way to harness his over active imagination and sense of humour for the benefit of a reading public! Luckily for us, he has brought both together for his new series of Spy Toy books. The premise of the stories is that "the world's leading toy manufacturer makes playthings for the rich and famous, and every toy they create contains a tiny computerised brain and a unique personality. These toys are seriously awesome! But every so often there's a faulty toy ..." And suddenly, we are all looking at our toy boxes a little differently.
In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?
I love writing so to be paid to do it is an absolute dream. Time vanishes when you're at the laptop working on a story. I get a bit grouchy if I go a day without writing. That might be the definition of a writer: someone who, when they're not writing, is a pain in the backside.
Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?
PG Wodehouse is a huge creative hero. He was a masterful prose writer and created so many wonderful characters. And the sheer output of the man! 92 books published - one for every year of his life. What a work ethic!
What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?
I started out writing jokes and sketches for radio and TV and it took me a long time to get around to learning how to construct longer narratives. So I wish I'd read books like Robert McKee's 'Story' when I was a lot younger.
If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?
I introduce some totally random idea into the mix and see how it affects things.
And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?
I'd be a navy blue low-top Converse All Star, of course! Like me, Converse All Stars are fun, ancient and not nearly as fashionable as they think.