James Campbell is a writer, storyteller and comedian. Over the last 16 years, he has visited over 1500 schools and has performed his Comedy 4 Kids show at festivals and theatres all over the world. Find out more about him here.

Onto the interview.

1. What was your first phone?

The first one I remember had a dial. It lived in the hall and I wasn’t allowed to touch it.

2. Who/What inspired you to write?

Reading books. Being told I couldn’t.

3. When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?

When I was seven. I loved reading books. I loved the way that stories took me to different places, away from myself and my situation. A normal person would have just read more books. I however, thought, “I must control this.”

4. What is your writing routine?

Theoretically, I write a page every morning to get my head warmed up. I have many notebooks. I write with a pen and then use the computer as a word processor. I then print things out and carry them around with me, changing them with a pen, then type them up. Repeat til finished. Most of my writing takes place on stage though when I’m making things up as I go along. Or when I’m asleep.

5. Have you ever suffered writer’s block? What did you do to overcome it?

Yes. About three years ago. I made some changes to my life and realised that I’d been mistakenly making my creativity dependent on other things. For about six months I had no idea how to write anything. A lovely friend of mine called Karl helped me through this and I learned to write properly again.

6. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write every day. Listen. Look at the gaps between things. Look for the inspiration behind boredom.

7. If you were to change jobs, what profession would you get into?

Cooking. Growing vegetables. Farming. Self-sufficency. Spy.

8. If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be and what
would you say to them?

I’d like to meet Ben Okri. I’d try not to say anything.

9. What is the longest period you have gone without a shower?

Probably a month. But I washed in rivers instead.

10. If I came to your home and looked inside the refrigerator, what would I find?

Hang on, I’ll go and look. There’s a big bowl of chicken stock that I’ve just made. A lot of cucumbers. Marrows and courgettes from the garden. Many, tiny yoghurts. Too much milk. In the freezer is half a pig.

11. Of the all places you’ve been to, which one is the most beautiful? Why?

Probably the Scottish mountains. Or maybe the back garden. It depends on me doesn’t it?

12. What is your favourite book and movie?

Favourite book really depends on mood. And it changes. At the moment I think it’s His Dark Materials.

Favourite movie: again, it changes. Today it’s The Empire Strikes Back.

13. What are you currently reading?

Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror by Chris Priestly; everything written by Michael Morpurgo (I’m interviewing him in a few months time for a TV thingy); and Ken Muir’s book on growing fruit.

14. If you were deserted on an abandoned island what 5 things would you want to have?

  • Some vegetable seeds.
  • Pen and paper.
  • A dog.
  • A pair of sandals.
  • A big book.

15. If you were a car, which one would you like to be? Why?

A bashed up Mercedes that no one is quite sure how it’s still managing to carry on.

16. From a very general perspective, how do you handle change?

I put it in a jar by the front door.

17. If you had a superpower, what would you like it to be?

The ability to sleep one half of my body at a time. And talk to ducks.

18. What is the latest track you’ve downloaded on your iPod?

I don’t have an iPod and I don’t download things. I buy CDs from charity shops. The last one I bought was the best of Mario Lanza. It’s not my sort of thing.

19. When was the last time you cried?

Watching Toy Story 3 with my son.

20. When were you happiest?


21. Who should we follow on Twitter?

I’ve never gone anywhere near Twitter so I can’t really comment. I’m sure it’s lovely but I’m not very good with anything addictive.