Huw Davies joins our festive Q & A.
Huw Davies grew up in Nantyffyllon, near Maesteg and teaches English. He has an MA in Script-writing from the University of Glamorgan. As an English teacher, Huw came to realise that there was a lack of what he called ‘daft books for boys’, and started work on Scrambled. He lives in Carmarthen with his wife and three children.
Name three things on your Christmas list this year! When I was young I used to be disappointed to open a present to find it was pants or socks, but now I’m absolutely delighted when I get them – I think this is one of the defining things about being old. So pants, socks and an EpiPen (more about that later).
Christmas is a time of family traditions – what are your best (or worst!) family traditions? I’ve got a nut allergy, so Christmas is a bit of a risky time. It doesn’t seem to matter how careful I am, but pretty much every Boxing Day for the last ten years I have gone into minor anaphylactic shock, when my face turns beetroot red and my head swells to the size of a melon. My wife is starting to think that I’m not allergic to nuts but I’m actually allergic to Boxing Day itself!
What is your favourite story to read at Christmas? It’s not a Christmas story as such, but I love the part in Louis Sachar’s Holes where Stanley thinks he is going to die, so he thinks back to a happy memory, and he thinks about falling down a hill in the snow with his mother. When I’m reading it in class I have to get the kids to read it because I’m in bits.
If you could have Christmas dinner with anyone (alive today or person from history) who would it be and why? I’m lucky because I’ll be having dinner with Mrs Davies and our children who are the people I’d most want to be with. Our children are quite young so there will be a bit of food flying about. So I’d like to have Barack Obama, obviously because of what he achieved in becoming the first African American President, but also he seems quite tall on TV so he could help me when I’m scraping mashed potato off the ceiling.
In Scrambled, Davidde is unfairly labelled a troublemaker. Were you a good boy at school and did Father Christmas always visit you? I was quite shy and reserved at school – I didn’t have a nick-name, which was usually a good indicator of extroversion/naughtiness. Father Christmas always came to visit me, but I’m not so sure if he visited Pickle, Fungus or Teabag.
Scrambled features amazing motorcycling. If you could choose a method of transport for Father Christmas other than the sleigh what would it be and why? Definitely a Fiat Doblo – it’s like the van from Postman Pat.
Reader’s question from children at the Inkpots Writer’s Hut; where do you get your ideas from? I’ve worked at a number of schools, but there was one in particular where crazy things seemed to happen all the time. For example, one Monday morning I drove into the car park and there was a car that was perfectly parked, except that it was upside down, on its roof. You just accepted it as normal. When I use these ideas I have to tone them down a bit.
Turkey or goose? Might be doing fish this year – controversial.
Real or fake tree? Both – how posh is that?
Mince pies or Christmas pudding? I’ll refer you back to question 2 for an answer to that.
Stockings – end of the bed or over the fireplace? Rugby sock (washed) on bed.
Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve? Wedding anniversary on the 29th – can’t forget that!
Thank you for joining our festive author Q & A! Have a Happy Christmas!