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Tommy Donbavand

As a child

I was born in Liverpool, but don't know any of The Beatles. When I was 9 years old, my parents moved to Leyland in Lancashire and, because they didn't trust me to forward their post, I had to go with them. As a child, I read everything I could find and could often get lost in the ingredients of the cereal packet at breakfast time. I was a bit of a swot at school, and even used to ask for extra maths homework because I enjoyed it so much (for some reason, I was bullied, too...) My favourite subjects were drama and English. I knew I wanted to be an actor and started writing plays and sketches so that I would have something to perform in. I appeared in a lot of shows with the local amateur dramatic society, then went off to college to learn how to be a serious, Shakespearean actor...

As an adult

All that serious acting training paid off and, as soon as I left college, I became a clown called Wobblebottom (no, really!) and toured the country entertaining children. Before long, I went to sea to perform on board a Ukrainian cruise liner (I'm the only person I know who can call bingo in Russian...) Back on dry land, I joined the cast of the West End musical, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, where I played the Clearlake MC for a total of eight years, including stints on the UK tour and in the Toronto production. I still can't believe the producers let me loose with a microphone in front of a thousand people a night! While in Buddy, I wrote four non-fiction books packed with the activities and games I had devised while working with children, including Boredom Busters and Quick Fixes For Kids' Parties. This really fired up the writing bug in me again, and I wanted to do more...

As an artist

When Buddy ended, I moved to the north east of England to write and perform for a children's theatre company where my shows included Hey Diddle Diddle, Rumplestiltskin and Humpty Dumpty And The Incredibly Daring Rescue Of The Alien Princess In Deep Space. I also penned five episodes of the hit CBBC series, Planet Cook, as well as five titles in Egmont Books' Too Ghoul For School series. Eventually the writing took over and, in 2006, I left my 'day job' to start work on a new idea for a series of children's horror novels. I wondered what would happen if there were two or more haunted houses, side by side... This idea eventually became Scream Street. I have converted the spare bedroom at home into an office and I work in there every day, occasionally nipping downstairs for a game of peek-a-boo with my toddler son. I would love to be able to listen to music while I write, but I need complete silence in order to concentrate. I usually get it, too, until my older son comes home from school and starts blasting aliens on his Playstation in the next room! Writing Scream Street is fangtastic fun - I just have to be careful not to scare myself! I also get to visit schools, libraries and book shops to run creative writing workshops and spread the word that reading and writing can be really exciting! I've always got more than one project on the go. In addition to Scream Street, I'm also writing a book of educational drama activities, a horror novel for struggling readers and a couple of assignments that are so top secret that even I don't have all the details! I've started to see sleep as a waste of good writing time...

Things you didn't know about Tommy Donbavand

  1. When I was four, I approached the band at my uncle's wedding and asked to sing with them!
  2. As a bored teenager, I taught myself to do the Rubik's Cube - with my feet!
  3. I can make balloon animals!
  4. I support Everton football club!
  5. I once caught a piranha fish in the Amazon River!
  6. Even though I write horror books - I'm too scared to watch horror films!
  7. I am trained to scuba dive at an advanced level!
  8. Once, when I was scuba diving, a shark came and swam with me for a while!
  9. I'm a computer geek, and I'm always being asked to repair my friends' PCs.
  10. My ambition is to write an episode of Doctor Who!

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