Paul Adam

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Paul Adam started his first novel – a gripping adventure story about a teenage boy - when he was fourteen years old, the same age as Max Cassidy. He went upstairs one Sunday afternoon to write the book and came back down half an hour later after he’d discovered that writing books was too much like hard work. "It still feels like hard work," he says, only now he has no choice but to get on with it as he has a wife, two sons and a voracious tortoise named Ted to support.

He studied law at Nottingham University and then became a journalist.

During his first job, as a reporter on the Sheffield Telegraph, he wrote a huge number of very boring stories and was on duty the night South Yorkshire police caught the Yorkshire Ripper – one of the most notorious killers in history. “I was the most junior reporter in the office,” he recalls. “The News Editor called me over to his desk and told me that the Ripper had been caught in Sheffield. This was a huge story. The Ripper had killed 13 women and escaped capture for six years. I thought, ‘YES! This is the big one!’ Then the News Editor said that every reporter was going to be working on the story – except me. Someone had to write all the other articles for the next day’s paper and that was my job. So that’s how I covered the crime story of the century.”

While working as a journalist, Paul started writing a novel in his spare time and, although the book was devastatingly brilliant, sadly no one wanted to publish it. So he wrote a second novel – even better than the first one - but no one wanted to publish that either. Or his third... or his fourth ... until finally, when he was getting very old and tired, a publisher took pity on him and accepted one of his books.

He has now had thirteen novels for adults published – and suggests that they would all make excellent presents for children to give to their parents.

Escape from Shadow Island is his first thriller for children, but he has written other stories for kids, including the family feature film To Catch a Yeti, which starred the world-famous rock star Meatloaf (ask your parents who he is). This was based on an idea he had when he was camping on the slopes of Annapurna in the Himalayas, and saw a massive footprint in the snow outside his tent, but not the creature that had left it. “I thought, ‘what if the reason no one has ever seen an Abominable Snowman is that although its feet are huge, the animal itself is only twelve inches high and it uses its feet to ski down the mountains?’,” Paul says. “So the film is all about a 12-inch-high yeti with massive feet who accidentally gets taken to America in the rucksack of a climber and causes havoc.”

Paul wrote a number of stories for his own children when they were younger – short stories to read at bedtime – but as the boys got older he really wanted to write a book that they could enjoy reading themselves.

“I remember reading a book about Houdini when I was at junior school and being fascinated by the way he could escape from handcuffs and chains and locked cabinets,” Paul says. “Then the idea came to me a few years ago of a schoolboy escapologist who gets into all sorts of dangerous situations and uses his escapology skills to get out of them. And that’s how Max Cassidy was born.”

Paul has lived in Italy and various parts of Britain, but is now back in his home town of Sheffield. He writes in the attic of his house using a biro and an A4 pad of paper. In his spare time he enjoys music, films and sport.