I often get asked 'how did you become a children's writer and illustrator?' and I tell the story of how I was a teacher at Loanhead Primary for three years and how, when I was teaching a Year 1 class to read in ITA (the Initial Teaching Alphabet), I made them a book called The Emperor's Singing Bird. This book was spotted in my classroom by a School's Inspector who sent it off to a publisher.
And that was how it all started. In 1974 Andre Deutsch published The Emperor's Singing Bird - but not in the Initial Teaching Alphabet - and I gave up teaching.
The bit I don't always tell is that the School's Inspector, Alan Jamieson, was an author himself and I illustrated a book of his, The Carnferry Gang, set in Glasgow. I'm very grateful to the part Alan Jamieson played in getting me started.