Steve Hartley told us how he got two World Records in 2002 to impress his daughter. The first was when five hundred people yo-yoed for five minutes. He explained how he’d been practising for weeks. He even bought a yoyo that lights up. If your yoyo broke down you had to sit down in shame.
Afterwards, as they had nothing else to do, they all yodelled for 5mins. He now has two certificates to say he is a World Record holder.
This was the inspiration for his Danny Baker, Record Breaker series. The first in the series, Danny Baker Record Breaker The World's Biggest Bogey, was out in January 2010 and was on the long-list for the Waterstone’s Prize.
He had been writing for over fifteen years before he got published but, just put all his stories away in a drawer. Then SCBWI came along and he decided to join and enter the Undiscovered Voices Competition. When he was looking for something to enter he found Danny in the drawer and sent it out. After he won, he was approached by four agents so, was in the lucky position where he could choose who to represent him.
And then began the process of re-writing and because it was the first in a series, he had to write three more. He had a few rejections but, two publishers put in an offer and he finally signed with Macmillan to do eight books, which includes:
- Danny Baker Record Breaker: The World's Biggest Bogey
- Danny Baker Record Breaker: The World's Awesomest Air-Barf
- Danny Baker Record Breaker: The World's Loudest Armpit Fart
- Danny Baker Record Breaker: The World's Stickiest Earwax
- Danny Baker Record Breaker: The World's Itchiest Pants
I love the titles. Steve said he has such a hoot writing them and enjoys the school visits. He gets the children to do armpit farts to the tune of Old McDonald had a Farm. He also uses a selection of props. He takes in a massive pair of pants to see how many children can climb in and carries around a giant bogey.