Before being an award winning author you worked as a theatre director, what made you then decide to teach English and Drama in India, Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines and here in the UK?
I was made redundant. That can crush you, or force you onto your bike – and I was forced onto a plane that took me to Calcutta where my world turned upside down. I had a friend who was going out there with the Salvation Army, and I tagged along. What I saw made me hungry to travel and teach.
Did you ever get star struck by any of the stars performing at the theatre you worked at?
I am very easily starstruck, so yes…I worked very closely with Steve Coogan, and he continues to star-strike me.
What made you pick up that pen to write your first book? Did you ever expect them to be so popular and turned into films?
I’ve always written, since early childhood – but it was my grammar school in Kingston on Thames that really encouraged me. The usual story: I had an English teacher who used to go out of his way to encourage. It was the type of school that could really undermine you, so I clung to him.
Who is your all time favourite author and why?
Dennis Potter, the novelist and playwright. He was so fierce, so original – and he seemed to have such an unsentimental understanding of people. You can look at his TV drama now, and in comparison to wonders like Breaking Bad Potter looks rather slow. But he was digging the foundations, going where no other TV playwrights were going – and he cared.
Would you ever star in a film based on one of your books? If so what kind of character would you like to play?
No, I can’t act. I can only play what I am: inconsistent, prickly, nervous.
Your new book ‘LIQUIDATOR’ is based on teenagers and their work experience, as a teenager what would have been your dream work experience job be and why?
My hero in LIQUIDATOR is called Vicky, and she finds herself in a law-firm. That would have been my dream placement, in fact: I had some notion in my youth that I could be a solicitor, largely because I loved the word and it seemed to be so respectable.
You have been nominated for many awards including winning the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2011! Do you have that one award you would love to win over any other?
Awards are seductive things, and they conjure up the ghost of that grammar school boy I mentioned – that anxious individual who was told at a crucial point in his upbringing that everything has to be measured. Have you come first? Is there a silver cup at the end of it? I want to be acknowledged in that public way, but that’s a confession of shallowness. ‘Trash’ made the Carnegie shortlist, and in my teaching days that list was used a benchmark of good fiction. I will admit that I would love to win that prize, one day.
If you could give a teenager that dreams of being an author one top tip what would it be?
Get off the internet. Turn off your phone and TV. Close the door and use that uninterruptable silence to start writing.
What are your plans for your future as an author?
I’m working on the next book, and I’m spending time in a school devising a series for Radio 4. There are plans for a TV series, too – a grim, ugly, adult topic which you don’t want to know about.
To find out more about Andy visit www.andymulligan.co.uk