The Early Years: Michael spent his early years being a space cadet, Apache Indian, South Seas pirate and the (utterly fearless) Sheriff of Dead Twig Gulch. Despite this busy and demanding lifestyle, he still found time to pop in to his local junior school and give his class teacher, Mr 'Chalky-Chops' Chigley, invaluable tips, like which end of his school whistle to put into his mouth, and how it wasn't cool to try to eat his register just because he sometimes couldn't do really difficult guzintas - e.g how many times 7 guzinta 49 - the answer to which, as we all know, is 7 (apart from Chalky Chops Chigley, of course).
The Teenage Years: Like many early childhoods, Michael's finished roughly around the time he became 11 (very roughly in fact, but that's none of your business). At this point he was made to take a frightening eggs&ham thingy called the 'elevensies-plus'. He was then sent to a posh school where all the kids wore daft caps and even dafter expressions. Here, he learned lots of useful stuff, such as how to speak Prussian and how it's not cool to sniff your armpits while you're chatting to girls.
The Rebellious Years: In 1965 Michael decided he was fed up with wearing his daft school cap and the stupid short trousers which bared his spaghetti-shaped legs to the disbelieving stares of thousands of teenage girls. So, at the age of 15, he left school and got a job in an office with the intention of spending his first wages on an operation to get his legs pumped up to the size of tree trunks so that he could confidently wear short trousers until he was at least 25.
The Groan-up Years: After working as a trainee spiv, encyclopaedia salesman, whippet wrangler and rose grower, Michael became a teacher, using his spare moments to write stories, paint pictures and hide inside other people's imaginations. In the early 1990s he won a Scholastic-Independent 'Story of the Year' award and quite soon afterwards he gave up teaching and began writing full time. Since then he's written about 30 books for children on subjects ranging from art and architecture to weirdness and horror (so, not much change there). He writes fiction and non-fiction and his books have been published in a dozen or so countries, including Russia, Brazil, Finland and Korea (although he says that translating 'knock-knock' jokes into Korean always gives him a headache.)
Home and Family: Having failed to get past the vicious, armed border guards that patrol the Nottinghamshire countryside, Michael still lives in his home county with his wife, who is a teacher, his cat, which isn't, and various hens and ducks, which couldn't be, even if they wanted to. He's got one son, who is also an author and a journalist.
Work and Play: Michael's spare time activities include walking to his work room, switching on his computer and frightening the postman. When he's not busy writing he's to be found jetting off on exciting, expenses paid research trips to his local library. In addition to this he loves visiting schools and talking to children about writing and fun things to do with dead mammoths. During these visits he also draws pictures, reads from his books and asks school caretakers for directions to the loo.
Art: When he finds the time Michael still likes to go outdoors and paint pictures of trees and sheep but says he gets really irritated when they stroll away before he's finished (that's the sheep, not the trees). He also loves reading and listening to blues and African pop music.