Michele Guinness phoned and asked if I had any poetry about…sex? Now, Michele can be controversial, but still this made me gulp. It was okay, she just wanted contributions to an anthology she was putting together, called ‘Made For Each Other: Reflections On The Opposite Sex’. I just happened to have written a poem about childhood sweethearts for a community production. And she used that.
The mid-90s saw waves of spiritual renewal sweep across many churches around the world. These movements carried strange names and were marked by strange phenomena – from Rodney Howard-Browne’s ‘laughing revival’ to John Arnott’s ‘Toronto Blessing’. I met many of the key players, interviewed them, told their stories, witnessed a few things, and tried to bring some meaning to it all. But then it’s all up to the reader to decide…
Family expert Rob Parsons has always been a supporter of my work. One day he asked me to help him finish off a book he’d written on fatherhood. He wanted some practical applications at the end of each chapter. My wife and I came up with a load of suggestions. I think Rob took them all. The book went on to become a massive seller. I’m proud to have played a small part in its success.
It was a call out of the blue. International aid agency World Vision asked me, ‘Can you write a children’s book?’ I said yes. It was a specific brief – produce a resource to help children understand life in a drought-stricken community in Niger. I interviewed people who’d worked out there. I watched video clips of village life. I read Bob Geldof’s book on Africa. Then I road-tested the story at River Beach School. The kids loved it. An old friend who used to live in Niger said the text brought back many memories.
Plugger and publisher Bob Grace worked with some of the top names in the music biz. He helped promote classic albums like The Beatles’ ‘Revolver’ and The Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’. In 2011, Bob wrote his life story and asked me to edit his work and offer creative direction. So I made the text look like a 70s rock paper!
Graham Kendrick was a regular face on the folk club and coffee bar scene in the 70s. I loved his early work. It carried echoes of Ralph McTell and Paul Simon. Years later, Graham became one of the most successful contemporary hymnwriters in the world. And in 2001, he asked me to help write a book about his songs.
It was a BBC ‘Everyman’ programme about street children in Latin America. And it changed Duncan Dyason’s life forever. Hodder & Stoughton approached me to help Duncan tell his story of helping such kids. The book came out, and one reviewer liked it but added, ‘It won’t win any awards’. Then it won an award.