Your new book The Big Wish is out this month. What inspired you to start writing this book?
When I was a boy I used to daydream about what I'd do if I was magically granted loads of wishes. I think this is quite a common fantasy – that's why there are so many stories about it. But none of the stories I ever read really explored the idea. The people in them often wished for rather unimaginative things (money and castles and princesses, usually), and none of them ever seemed to think of asking for more wishes – but of course that's the first thing that springs to a child's mind! I wanted to take this idea and run with it. The wishes that Sam makes aren't for money and castles and princesses – they're a little bit stranger than that.
The Big Wish is about a boy called Sam who gets a million wishes and he thinks he can change the world! If you had only 3 wishes what would they be?
Only three? That's not enough – with only three you can't do much! Well, let's see … first, I'd wish to be able to fly. I've always wanted to do that. Then I think I might wish for a wallet that had a hundred pounds in it every single time I opened it. And finally I'd wish for a long, happy and healthy life for everyone I love (including myself, of course).
But now I feel guilty for not wishing for world peace or something. See? I told you three wasn't enough!
You are currently starring in the BBC2 show Back in Time for Dinner, can you tell us a little bit more about it?
It was amazing. We heard about it, applied online, and felt as if we'd won the Lottery when we were told we'd been chosen! The filming took place over the whole summer. The show focuses on our family living, eating and cooking first as if we were in the 50s, then the 60s, then the 70s and so on, up to the present day. It was hard work: the film crew arrived at our house about 8 every morning, and didn't normally leave until 8 in the evening. The only breaks we got were when they moved us out of the house for three days at a time, to transform the house between decades: it was always a shock to us when we were moved back in and saw what they'd done! We all found it fascinating, and the kids learned a huge amount of social history. But we had a lot of laughs while making it too – as I think you can see if you watch it!
Do you remember the first book you ever read or the book that sticks out the most when you were little?
The books that stand out for me from my childhood were Richmal Crompton's William stories. I idolised William and wanted to be him. And the stories were so funny. The first story I ever remember laughing aloud at was a William story. It was called 'The Terrible Magician' in a collection called William the Outlaw. I was eight years old. There's no doubt that Richmal Crompton has influenced my writing ever since – I think children's books should be funny, and should not talk down to the reader.
If you could give children 3 top tips on how to become a successful writer what would they be?
1) Read a lot of books. Do this not out of a sense of duty but because you love reading.
2) Buy yourself a notebook – or just create a folder on a computer, if you prefer – to practice in, and try to write a little bit every day.
3) Write about things you're really interested in (like me writing about wishes).
In your career so far as an author what would be your stand out moment?
That must be getting my first book published: The Amazing Adventures of Raincoat Man, long out of print now. I had been trying and getting stuff rejected for years, so it was a wonderful feeling to get that letter of acceptance (people still wrote letters in those days).
What are your plans for the rest of this year?
Lots of writing! I'm currently working on a novel-length fairy tale, called The King's Head, for readers of 8-12. I'm also putting the finishing touches to a teenage novel, The Tribe. And I'm co-writing a story for younger readers with a friend of mine – we do alternate chapters and email them to each other, which is quite fun. But I'll be having a break over the summer – we're taking a family holiday in Croatia, a place none of us has ever been, so we're all looking forward to that!
To find out more about Brandon visit www.doublecluck.com