What important messages do you want your books to convey to families?
My books have not been designed to be highly moralistic. I focus on telling a story but underneath each tale there is a moral. For example, a recurring message is if you do the right thing there are rewards and if you do the wrong thing there are negative consequences.
Please tell us about your book series 'Skoz the Dog'
By Christmas there will be 4 books in the 'Skoz the Dog' series.
Skoz the Dog: All at Sea - Skoz has a fantasy day out at sea.
Skoz the Dog: Up in the Air - based on the falling dream - fabulously perilous situation that Skoz tries to survive.
Skoz the Dog: Ready, Steady... Kaboom! - Skoz wakes up thinking he is in his kennel but is actually blown out of canon and ends up at the circus where there is lots of action and animals.
Skoz the Dog: Leader of the Pack - Skoz wakes up in the pound but daydreams he is in Alaska as the main dog leading the huskies.
Which are your bestselling books and to what do you attribute their success?
Out of the 23 books I have written, 20 have attained a Australian best seller status. I aim for my books to appeal to both parents and their children.
Please tell us about your family.
I have 3 kids, a boy 11 and two girls 9 and 6 years old. My family is really normal. Our kids are involved in numerous activities including AFL, swimming, netball, soccer, basketball, band, ballet, jazz, and modern dancing.
What are your career highlights?
Having a job in the entertainment industry has many highlights including going to the Beijing Olympics. Getting 23 books published is a thrill, especially as most of my books are still in print.
What are your hobbies?
My wife and I are both working parents - my hours are flexible so we play tag with family activities - we share all household and family tasks but I don't do as much washing. My hobbies are fishing, boating, golf, or doing family activities. I do not yearn for time alone or with mates as I am happy to spend time with my wife and kids.
What was your first job?
I was a barman whilst at Monash University studying for my Arts Degree, majoring in history and sociology.
What is your most unforgettable personal experience?
Getting married and being there for the birth of my 3 kids.
What is your favourite Australian destinations and why?
Uluru was an awesome moving experience and Port Stephens is like heaven.
What is your best overseas destination and why?
In 1991, I lived in New York for 1 year. I met Ray O'Neal at a party, and we set off on a month - long motorcycle journey across the USA. That summer spent riding cross country with Ray forged a friendship that will be with me for the rest of my life. February 2004, Ray died in a work accident. He left behind a wife and a young daughter, Rose. In the book 'It's All Good', I wrote about that motorcycle journey, the people we met and the things we did, as a way of sharing with Rose some memories of her father.
Born in 1967, Andrew wondered what he'd done to his parents to give him a middle name like Dugald. Then he thought about his twin brother James' middle name Beilby.
It was only later the two boys discovered that Dugald and Beilby were both special family names.
For Andrew school was normal. There were broken arms and fingers, scrapes and scratches, girlfriends, hot chips and a football team that refused to win a premiership.
There was no gap between finishing school at Melbourne Grammar to starting university. Andrew's friends noticed in the first year at university he spent a lot of time windsurfing.
During the second year things got a bit busier. Andrew took a job with Network Ten as the host of a kids' afternoon TV show. The following year, Andrew moved to ABC Television to host its live national music show 'The Factory'.
After working on American 'MTV', Andrew decided to leave the music industry behind and become an actor.
It was more out of necessity than anything else. In 1992 he scored the Plum role in the TV production of 'Cluedo'. It was two seasons of slicked back hair and purple clothes and he's kind of glad no one seems to remember it.
Andrew joined the Seven Network in 1995, as an all round network dog's body. His first program was as co-host of 'The World's Greatest Commercials' with Cane the Dog.
This was the first of a long list of programs with the network over a fifteen year period that
included the long running news program '11AM', two Olympics, 'Funniest People', 'Kidspeak', professional travelling on 'The Great Outdoors' and various specials.
It was whilst presenting '11AM' that the writing bug got into Andrew's system.
It started badly with an unpublished book called 'The Big Green Smiling Wobbly'. Happily for Andrew, the blow of his first rejected 'manuscript' was not enough to make him stop.
His second effort was eventually accepted and about a year and half after he started 'Sprung!' This is a book of stories about a boy called Fergus who could easily have been Andrew at the age of ten years but no one is admitting to that.
Andrew is now described, amongst other things, as an 'accomplished author.' He has written books for all ages - picture books, chapter books, short story collections, young adult novels and adult non-fiction.
Since the beginning of 2008, Andrew has been part of the team at ABC radio, hosting the Evening Program for 702 in Sydney and NSW as well as 666 for Canberra and the ACT.
Andrew's books are often included in the Premier's Reading Challenge in a number of Australian states.
Andrew's book 'Goodnight, Me' was selected for the 2006 National Simultaneous Storytime Book and 'Cheeky Monkey' was one of the 2008 Early Childhood Australia's Best Picture Books of the Year.
He's also very excited about some new stories he's written and the next chapter in his own life that looks set to unfold.
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Get Ahead Kids® Nov/Dec 2010