Ross has worked as a pig farmer, a postman and a primary school teacher, so writing books was the next logical step. He spent his childhood reading everything he could get his hands on, from Jacqueline Wilson to Beano annuals, and it taught him pretty much everything that’s worth knowing. If you looked through his pockets you’d find empty crisp packets, lists of things to do, and a bottle of that stuff you put on your nails to stop you biting them.
Perijee and Me: When 11-year-old Caitlin discovers a shrimp-like alien creature on the shores of her island home, she takes responsibility for teaching it about the world. Mostly, this just involved stopping little Perijee from eating everything! Caitlin becomes increasingly close to her alien friend, treating him like a brother. There’s only one problem – Perijee won’t stop growing. Then the authorities try to hunt him down and through his fear, Perijee disappears and starts causing trouble. Caitlin must leave home and travel across the country to try and convince Perijee to stop destroying everything before it’s too late.
Christmas Dinner of Souls: It’s a dark and lonely Christmas Eve in the dining room of ancient Soul’s College. The kitchen boy, 11-year-old Lewis, has helped prepare a highly unusual meal, made with unrecognisable ingredients, cooked by a mysterious chef. And then the guests arrive and carnage ensues. They are ex-students of Soul’s College, and they are all completely demented. They demand bottle after bottle of wine, flinging their cutlery and howling like banshees until… silence. The Dean of Soul’s College has arrived, and the evening’s ceremonies must begin. For this is the annual meeting of a secret club for those who despise children, warmth, happiness, and above all Christmas. Each member must try to outdo the others by telling the most terrible, disgusting story they know.
Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door: Alex Jennings is a boy with a problem. His mum’s sent him away to boarding school because his father, the most famously failed explorer in the history of the Cusp, has escaped from hospital again, yelling ‘squiggles’. Make that two problems. Now the evil Davidus Kyte and all his henchmen are after Alex, convinced he alone knows the meaning of the word ‘squiggles’. OK, make that three… Alex Jennings is a boy with a lot of problems. But with the help of a talking dog and a girl with unfeasibly sharp teeth, he just might have what it takes to cross the Forbidden Lands, escape the evil Davidus Kyte, and find out what lies beyond the Cusp.
Max and the Millions: Max is used to spending time alone – it’s difficult to make friends in a big, chaotic school when you’re deaf. He prefers to give his attention to the little things in life, like making awesome, detailed replica models. Then Mr Darrow, the school caretaker and fellow modeller, goes missing. Max must follow his parting instruction: ‘Go to my room. You’ll know what to do.’ There on the floor he finds a pile of sand… and in the sand is Mr Darrow’s latest creation: a tiny boy, no bigger than a raisin, Luke, Prince of the Blues. And behind the tiny boy, millions of others – a thriving, bustling, sprawling civilization!
The Tornado Chasers: When Owen Underwood’s family move to Barrow, it’s because there’s nowhere safer in the Valleys – and safety is very important. Especially when the threat of tornadoes, and giant bears, is constant. But in Barrow, safety is taken to extremes. Children have to wear bright yellow at all times and are never allowed outside except to go to school. How can Owen face an entire summer of that? In secret, Owen and his friends form the Tornado Chasers. Their mission: to get as close to a Grade 5 tornado as possible. It’s time for them to face their fears!