17 October 2011

COOL Awards shortlisted author Pat Flynn

The COOL Awards are the Children's Choice Book Awards in the ACT.

Pat's book The Tuckshop Kid has made it onto this year’s shortlist in the younger readers category. Read on to find out more about Pat, what inspired him to be a writer and more.

As a boy I loved reading but I also loved sport. I wanted to be a tennis star - practising every day against a brick wall that was really tough to beat. The window next to it, however, was much easier to crack. My accuracy improved and I won my first state title at 10 and moved to the AIS in Canberra at 15 where I lived for three years. My dream was so close but once I hit the pro circuit it felt like running in quicksand. My best world ranking was 390; I needed a new dream.

I always loved reading and writing. When I was in Year 4 my teacher read my mystery story out to the school cleaner. In high school my English teacher read my love story out to the class without saying who wrote it. Someone figured out I was the author and it was really embarrassing, but also a little thrilling.

When I hit 30 I decided to write a book. My first one was rejected, it was depressing. But a publisher wrote, 'Pat, you show some potential. Change your style from less serious to more fun and I'll consider your next book.'

It was a bit like saying, 'Pat, you're ugly, but get plastic surgery and I'll think about going out with you.' I did what the publisher said and wrote another book about a boy named Alex Jackson who loved skateboarding. I got a phone call a few months later. 'Pat, you are going to be a published author,' said the editor.

I pumped my fist.

'If,' she continued, 'you're willing to totally rewrite the book.'

'Oh,' I said. I took a deep breath and thought for a few seconds. 'Okay, I'll do it.'

Since then I've written 17 books about skating, surfing, tuckshop food, young love and tennis. Some of my latest books include The Best Ballgirl, The Trophy Kid and How to Get Dumped. I write about real life but focus on the funny side. Life's better when you laugh.

To see my life story in 3.30 minutes click here

For more information on the COOL Awards click here

To see what other books are on the shortlist click here