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Last Updated: Monday September 19 2005 16:26 GMT

Jonathan Stroud: When I was 12

Jonathan Stroud
Author Jonathan Stroud has sold more than 1.5m books worldwide.

He is the creator of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, which will come to a close with the publication of the final book in the series - Ptolemy's Gate - on 6 October.

It follows The Amulet Of Samarkand and The Golem's Eye. Jonathan's other books include Buried Fire and The Leap.

He took time out to tell us about his school days.

Most embarrassing moment at school?

There were two - both involving my appearance.

I used to have quite long hair and I decided that I wanted to get it cut. I'd never met the person who did it and she cut it into some kind of dreadful mullet. It looked like a triangle on my head. The other kids were merciless.

Then there was the school mufti day when all the other kids turned up in cool jeans. I turned up in a jerkin - a type of jacket with a furry inside and hippy, flowery patterns on the outside.

How much pocket money did you get?

I think it was 1 a week. I usually spent it on books and I was really into drawing so I'd go to the art shop and buy different types of pencils and things like that.

What did your school report say?

They were generally pretty good. I got fairly good grades, but I was bad at woodwork. They said I tried hard, but the result was hopeless.

What made you cringe?

There were certain school meals that still send shivers down my spine. There was one which was like home-made crisps. It was big pieces of potato stuck together with grease. You were meant to clear your plate and I can remember trying to hide this stuff under my knife and fork.

Did you have a nickname?

Not really, although when I was about 10 one boy called me 'the walking bush' because of my hair, which was really fluffy. I thought it was quite good because it was so inventive.

What were your fave TV shows?

The Dukes Of Hazzard and Robin Of Sherwood. I liked the adventure.

What was your fave book?

Lord Of The Rings. The first time I had a crack at it I was about 10. It had a big impact on me and I then read a lot of fantasy books. I thought it was a great book - I could lose myself in that world.

Who was your hero or heroine?

The runner Sebastian Coe. I was very much into athletics and I loved to watch him compete. I can remember cheering him on and getting really upset when he didn't win.

Who was your favourite teacher and why?

His name is Bill Bowen and I'm still in touch with him now. He's a marvellous Welshman and his speciality was English, poetry and music.

He had such a passion for what he did that even the badly-behaved kids could not fail to be impressed. He read us great stories and encouraged me to write.

Were you bullied?

I had a big fight in my first week in secondary school. There was a kid in the year above who was nasty to me and we ended up having a scrap. I can remember thinking that there was going to be some serious bloodshed if we didn't stop, so I made a decision to walk away. It was a difficult thing to do, but the most sensible. I never had a fight again.



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