Interviewing Exeter’s own Tom McLaughlin, the amazing children’s author and illustrator, was a genuine pleasure. Tom is a lovely fella and was on a high that his book had just been read on CBeebies by another famous Thomas…
“It was definitely supposed to be today.
From my limited interactions with Tom McLaughlin (40), I didn’t expect him to be late – he just doesn’t seem the type. I decide to send a text message. Nothing too pushy, just a gentle nudge:
“Hi Tom. Are you still OK for our meeting? Best C.”
A reply lands.
“Yes, I’m here too.”
The penny drops. Who’d have thought there were two branches of the same coffee shop in central Exeter? I race through town, thinking I wouldn’t have made a good secret agent or prime minister (two of the roles the stars Tom’s children’s books themselves in) with organisational skills as bad as mine.
Finally united, we exchange notes about babies as I search for a notepad in a bag overcrowded with wet wipes and teethers. Tom’s partner, Elle (34), I learn, has just given birth – their first child together.
Down to business, there’s no way of avoiding that Tom is currently part of a social media sensation. He grins. “I got an email a while back, but wasn’t allowed to tell anyone.”
Tom’s book The Cloudspotter was read on CBeebies by none other than the smouldering star of of Taboo and Peaky Blinders, Tom Hardy. The internet went crazy about it. “I remember tweeting,” Tom says, of when the embargo lifted. ‘I said Tom Hardy is reading my book on CBeebies. This is the coolest sentence I’m ever going to write.’”
I’d dispute that. Tom McLaughlin’s written some very cool sentences in his books – or funny ones, which are, surely, the same thing. It’s not for nothing that Tom’s often compared with David Walliams.”The Story Teller, Tom McLaughlin interview for West Magazine
For the full ‘West Magazine’ (Western Morning News) piece, click here.