Professor P's Website

Peter looking for fossils near Bridport

Tell us about yourself.

I was born on 23rd March 1957 in Greenwich, London and grew up in Sevenoaks in Kent. As a child, I was fascinated by science and was always taking things apart to discover how they worked. I had great fun playing with my science kit and loved experimenting with magnets and chemicals.

In 1976 I went to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University to study Natural Science and I graduated with a degree in Theoretical Physics. After University, I lived in Cambridge and started a company to market my electronic and computer inventions.

In July 1987 I met my wife, Julie on holiday in Wales. It was love at first sight and three days later we were engaged! We were married in Cambridge in December 1987 and our only son, David was born in July 1990.

In 1991 I accepted a job as a lecturer in Electronics at Bridgwater College in Somerset and we moved to Glastonbury where I now live. I left the college in 1995 to start a computer consultancy company.

In 2004 my first book, Professor P and the Jurassic Coast was published and I became a full time writer.

What sparked your interest in fossils?

When I was eleven years old my father took me and my brother to a brickworks near Sevenoaks. We scrambled down the quarry and made some amazing fossil finds. I can still remember the excitement of finding my first fossil, a beautiful ammonite. I proudly took my fossil collection to school to show all my friends.

What inspired you to become an author?

When David was little, I used to tell him bed-time stories about a kind and clever inventor called Professor P. He loved the stories and refused to go to bed without one! A few years later we bought a caravan and parked it at Golden Cap in Dorset, an excellent fossil beach. David loved collecting fossils and so I decided to write him a story about the time when the fossils were alive. I completed my first homemade book, Professor P and the Time Machine and gave it to David for his 9th birthday. He absolutely loved it!

How long did it take you to write your books?

It took me five years to complete my first published book, Professor P and the Jurassic Coast. I kept revising and altering the story until I was completely happy with it. I took about 3 years to complete Professor P and the Jurassic Island and 2 years to complete Professor P and the Dinosaur Island. I'm getting quicker!

What author has most influenced your writing?

As I child, I used to love Enid Blyton, especially the Famous Five series. I've tried to recapture the innocence of her books in my writing, while bringing the stories up to date with computers and modern technology.

How do you go about writing a book?

I start by planning and researching the book. When I've producing an outline for each chapter, I write the story by hand, in pencil, using the plan as a rough guide and altering it when necessary. I leave the story for a few weeks before reading it through critically to make sure that it flows and I delete any unnecessary scenes. Then I type it up on the computer, expanding the scenes, adding description and carefully choosing the right words. When the first draft is finished, I print it out and give it to my son for his comments. Then I work with my editor, Julie going over chapter by chapter until we’re both satisfied with the book.