Kevin Brooks counts among his many jobs being a crematorium assistant, a refreshments vendor at the London Zoo, and a civil servant. But he always wanted to be a writer.
It was the publication of MARTYN PIG that changed everything. After being turned down by a number of publishers, Kevin Brooks sent his manuscript to The Chicken House, who jumped on the chance to publish it. They released MARTYN PIG in the spring of 2002. In the U.K, the book went on to be short-listed for the Carnegie Medal and win a Branford Boase Award for a first best novel. And in the United States, it was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start and an ALA Book of the Year, among its many accolades.
One of Brooks' favorite genres is the detective novel, and this shows in his writing, "I think my awareness of plot comes from having read a lot of crime fiction. When MARTYN PIG came out, the reviewers were saying things such as 'well plotted' novel. I found that surprising because I didn't have any idea that I could plot or structure a story. I do plan, but I'm not consciously aware that I'm building a plot that creates good suspense; it comes naturally because I've soaked myself in those sorts of plots."
Why did he decide to write for children? "There are not many differences, I don't think, between writing for children and writing for adults," Brooks says, "because children aren't that different from adults. But I would say the story is the main thing, with children. With adults you might use different styles and structures, perhaps indulge in fiddly niceties. Writing for children brings you down to basics."
Critics have compared his second novel, LUCAS, to classics such as TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and THE OX-BOW INCIDENT. Told through the eyes of 15-year-old Caitlin, LUCAS captures the pain and grace of an adolescent girl faced with a moral dilemma --- with only her heart to guide her. "An ambitious and intricately crafted tale of love and resurrection," says Publishers Weekly in a starred review. LUCAS was long listed for the Guardian Fiction Prize, was a Book Sense 76 pick and was also chosen for Barnes & Noble Teen Discovery Program.
Kevin Brooks is married and lives in Manningtree, Essex, England.