Sam finds a little goes a long way in publishing
Sam Gayton, who worked as a teaching assistant at Bath's Widcombe Primary School, and still runs drama holiday clubs three times a year there, is celebrating the publication of his second novel for children.
Called Lilliput, it's an exhilarating sequel to children's classic Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. Lily, a girl three inches tall with eyes like drops of dew, is kidnapped by Gulliver, and trapped in 18th century London. On her quest to get back home she encounters evil clockmakers, chocolate shops and very talkative parrots. Sam, 27, says: "Gulliver's Travels is a great book everyone knows. I wanted to imagine what happened next. Creating a story set so long ago wasn't easy, but living and working in Bath, with its Regency heritage, really inspired me."
Sam moved to Bath in 2008 to take the MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University. He then spent two years as a classroom assistant at Widcombe Primary, while writing his debut novel The Snow Merchant. It was published in 2011 and has been short-listed for several book prizes, being hailed by the Sunday Times as 'a delightful debut … full of action and adventure'.
Later he worked as a teaching assistant in a unit for children with special educational needs at Tubbenden Primary School, Orpington, Kent.
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He says: "I've always loved creative writing, as far back as I can remember. When a small child attending primary school, I spent my spare time writing plays for me and my cousins to perform, and creating little story books. In my teenage years, as a pupil at comprehensive school, I wrote a pantomime which a group of drama students performed for nearby primary schools.
"That gave me a taste for writing plays which I continued when I took my degree at Warwick University. There, I got involved with a fledgling theatre group, Dumbshow. My play Clockheart Boy was performed at the Edinburgh Festival, the egg @ Bath Theatre Royal, Manchester Royal Exchange and the Lyric Hammersmith.
"But while I love writing for the theatre, it was always my greatest dream to see my stories on the shelves in bookshops. Now it has actually happened, and the other day I saw both my books on the shelves of Mr B's Reading Emporium on Bath's John Street. I still can't quite believe it.
"One of the best things about being a properly published author is that now I don't have to draw my own pictures anymore. I was always rubbish at drawing. Now I work with an illustrator, who is spectacular!"
Sam, who has just moved to Peckham, South London, will be returning to Bath in the summer of 2013 to run another children's holiday drama club and take part in the Bath Festival of Children's Literature. He hopes to publish his third book for children next year.
Lilliput by Sam Gayton is published by Andersen Press, price £12.99.