Right, the most important question first: what’s your favourite sandwich (a regular one for eating, not time travelling)?
Wow, this is genuinely a very tricky question because I LOVE sandwiches. If I had to pick just one then it would be a ham and cheese sarnie fried in butter (with a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich for pudding)!
When did you discover you had a talent for writing funny stories?
I had an inkling that I could write funny stories when I was in school. One assignment that my English teacher set us was to rewrite a nursery rhyme. I wrote a version of Little Red Riding Hood and I took ages on it. Everyone in the class laughed at my jokes and it was then that I realised that I could make people laugh. It felt GOOD!
There are some unusual names in your books, like Compton and his brother Bravo, how do you come up with them?
I find that I can’t really begin to write a character’s story until I’m really happy with their name. So I spend a lot of time thinking about great names. A lot of my characters are named after places. For example, Compton Valence is a village in Dorset. I drove past it one day and thought it would make a great name. If I take a place name though I have to change it somehow. So Compton ValEnce the place became Compton ValAnce the person. I pick other names simply because I find the sound of them so perfect. That’s how I came up with Bravo, (don’t you think it sounds ace?) and the rhyming horror of Samuel Nathaniel Daniels J
What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I had different ones at different times so when I was little I loved the Brer Rabbit books, when I was about eight I loved The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl and then at some point between being eight and nine my dad read me The Happy Prince and The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde. Those two short stories changed my life.
Do you have a special place where you do all your writing?
Yes, I write in The Bunker. It’s a kind of shed/summer house in my garden and it’s great. I’ve got a bed over there and all my guitars and a record player so it’s a really brilliant place to spend time. It also has the most wonderful views of the countryside.
Why do you think reading is so important?
Firstly, reading is important to me because I love it so much. I would much rather be reading a great book than watching a movie, playing a computer game, or just about anything else. I can’t imagine a world without books. Secondly, reading is important because language is how we communicate. Simply put, the more words you know, the better able you are to make sense of the world or let others know how you feel.
If you had a time travelling sandwich, where would you go?
I would either go forward in time because I’d love to see how the world will look in 300 years. Or go back in time to Victorian London and become a detective (one of my heroes is Sherlock Holmes!). I love the idea of taking back what I know now and using it in the past. I’d seem to be a lot smarter than I am!
What would be the one piece of advice you’d give your childhood self?
I would encourage my younger self to say ‘yes’ to more things. I am a bit of a worrier and feel that I say ‘no’ too much. Saying ‘no’ means you miss out on stuff. Actually, when I was about 15 I was invited to go to Poland for a summer to work with a theatre. My mum wouldn’t let me go. I wish I’d been braver and nagged her a bit more to change her mind.
Are there any authors (apart from yourself of course) that you’d recommend to our readers?
Loads. How about Neil Gaiman, his book Fortunately the milk… is brilliant. Or I really like Steve Cole, particularly his Hunting Trilogy. Or Frank Cottrell Boyce is an amazing writer but I really love Millions and his Chitty Chitty Bang Bang sequels.
Can we expect to see more of Compton in the future?
Yes you can. As we go through the series we get to see more of the 27th century and the work that the Future Perfect Unit do. So in Compton Valance: The Time-Travelling Sandwich Bites Back, you get to see the boss of the FPU and discover how big the operation is to stop rogue time travel incidents. And in other super, super, super exciting news, I am currently writing the 3rd Compton Valance book. I’m so excited about it but I won’t say anything just yet. You’ll be able to see it in your local bookshop in spring 2015.
Matt Brown is the author of the Compton Valance series, fantastically funny and delightfully disgusting time-travelling adventures, perfect for fans of The Wimpy Kid and David Walliams. The second book in the series, The Time-Travelling Sandwich Bites Back, is out on 1st October. For more information and loads of fun things to do visit www.comptonvalance.com.