Tom Fletcher has become a household name for many families in the UK. Millennials often remember him as a vocalist and guitarist in boyband McFly, while a younger generation know him as the author of their favourite children's books, including The Christmasaurus and There's a Monster in your Book. Over the past few years, he's also become an internet sensation, with a YouTube channel boasting over 660,000 subscribers and an Instagram account with a cool 2 million followers.
While Tom rose to fame through his music and career in McFly, more recently he's become a stand-out children's author and has gained popularity with parents who find his and wife Giovanna's Instagram content relatable, funny and wise.
Ahead of the release of his new audiobook - Who’s In Your Audiobook? - and his anticipated appearance in Strictly Come Dancing this year, the star sat down with Good Housekeeping to chat all things storytelling, children's books and how he and his kids have fallen in love with reading...
How has your career as an author developed over the years?
I've been writing books for 10 years and I've been a musician for 20 years, including being in McFly. My career as an author began as I saw it as a natural progression from music, as both music and books are a method of storytelling.
With my new audiobook, Who's In Your Audiobook?, being released, it all leans back into being in a band and listening to stories. I've spent a lot of long car journeys listening to audiobooks, so I know firsthand just how amazing they can be.
What inspired you to start writing children’s books? Have your children shaped you as an author?
It all began before I had children. My bandmate from McFly, Dougie (Poynter) and I would used to browse bookshops together and always felt ourselves gravitating towards children's books. When browsing, we felt like something was missing, especially when it came to books that grown-ups and kids could enjoy together. So, we worked together on The Dinosaur That Pooped; which became a series of children's books.
This storytelling process naturally changed again when I have kids. I've now got a wonderful test audience with my own children, and find sharing stories with them absolutely fantastic. I’m really just a big kid! I write what I enjoy and what captures my imagination and I still enjoy the the stuff that my kids like, such as Christmas and dinosaurs.
With the release of your audiobook - Who’s In Your Audiobook? - being your most recent project, what else have you got lined up for this year?
I always have projects lined up, especially reading-related ones, but of course this year I'm going to appear on Strictly! I'm so excited for it; if TV shows could be national treasures, then Strictly is definitely one. My family and my kids love it, my son Buzz was my inspiration for appearing on the show as he gets so emotionally invested every time that it's on, so it will be great for my family to watch. I'm also really looking forward to learning to dance, as I want to try something new.
Your children clearly influence every part of your life, including your new audiobook and other books. How do you think parents can inspire their children to enjoy reading?
I have three kids of varied ages, but they share reading together as a huge thing. My wife and I read to our sons when they were newborns, so it's become a habit that we've kept up. Now, we read picture books to and along with our younger sons, while our oldest son reads on his own or listens to an audiobook. What my wife and I love so much about reading with our children is that we are given a better understanding of them, as we see what they connect with.
Encouraging your kids to read isn't a quick process; it takes time. We make it part of our nightly routine, fitting it around bedtime. If your child is old enough, they can read aloud to you. This is fantastic as it gives means you have something that you can share and talk about, inspiring a whole new level of connecting and bonding. For younger children, reading picture books with them at bedtime is really special.
My other piece of advice is take a book with you everywhere you go. Pack your favourite stories in a bag for your next staycation, or take them outside for your next walk. Over the lockdowns, we regularly found ourselves sat as a family in parks and forests reading altogether.
Who’s In Your Audiobook? written and read by Tom Fletcher is available now both as an audio digital download and as a CD (Puffin).
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