Authors A to Z
Mark is a 30 year-old primary teacher of Year 6. He lives and works in Cambridge. Here’s what Mark says about himself:
‘I have never known a time when I didn't want to be a writer. SOCKS ARE NOT ENOUGH is my first full-length story. It took me ages to find a voice for the character of Michael but, once I'd done that, the story just seemed to flow. I guess I based him on myself a little bit and it was brilliant to write with him as my narrator. I also had a lot of fun redrafting the story again and again. I think it's a great feeling to pick out the minute details of a story and snip them or change them as you please, until you're happy with what you've got.
At school I was always the class clown. Although I loved making people laugh, I used to get a real kick out of the actual process of thinking up funny or ludicrous things to say. Whenever I was doing my paper round or walking for the bus I would always be sniggering to myself as I tried to come up with little sketches or cheeky one-liners for the next day at school.
I started writing as an adult when I produced some short stories and pantomimes for the children in my class. Having re-caught the writing bug, I took a year out to study for a Writing for Children MA in Winchester, where I learned a lot from some very talented writers. Later on I spent a year working in Italy (it is amazing how much more time you devote to writing when you can't understand what's on TV!) and now I'm living in Cambridge.’
Mark is working on a second story about Michael, at the moment called STATE OF UNDRESS.
SOCKS ARE NOT ENOUGH
Unlikely hero and protagonist, Michael Swarbrick, is 14 years old and an uptight, geeky kind of boy. Infatuated with Lucy King, the girlfriend of his rakish brother, Ste, Mike’s motivation for his infatuation is a mixture of unrequited romantic love, geekish obsession and a genuine desire to protect her from the dreadful Ste’s clutches...
As if his life wasn’t difficult enough, Michael is horrified to discover that his parents are nudists. As soon as their secret is out in the open, their nudism escalates at an alarming rate. Driven by Michael’s mum’s determination to liberate herself from the shackles of society – a determination definitely not shared by her husband – they soon take their clothes off outside the safety of their own home (to the delight of Michael’s filthy-minded friend, Paul Beary).
Through a series of unfortunate events, Michael moves out of his house and lives in a tent in the back garden.
Told through Michael’s ‘Dealing with Feelings’ counselling sessions with the well-meaning Miss O’Malley - who later passes him over to Chas, a university psychology lecturer who tries hard to be ‘down with the kids’ - these ‘chatting’ sessions reveal Mike’s dry sense of humour and obsessions. Slowly, he reaches into his past to uncover the reasons for his aversions to the weird stuff that’s been haunting him: naked human flesh, his fear of donkeys and his mum’s own obsession with Lucy’s dad...
Represented by: Gillie Russell