Nick's Horrible Life
(A heart-rending tale of passion, genius and pizza)
Chapter 1: The early years
In which young Nick goes to school and enjoys being horrible ...
Nick Arnold was born at an early age - in fact he was so incredibly young at the time that he has no idea how old he is. He once asked his mum when he was born (Nick's mum was actually present for his birth) and she replied "oh I don't know, but I think it was over 21 years ago". And before we continue you ought to know …
a) That Nick's mum is even worse at maths than Nick.
b) Nick's mum is 24.
c) Nick Arnold is now several years older than his mother.
We are on firmer ground when we record that Nick Arnold was born in Cambridge, England in what is now a hostel for homeless people. Which is more or less what is was then except that his parents weren't quite homeless at the time because they lived above the surgery where Nick's doctor dad attempted to make unwell people better.
Nick has two brothers both of whom are alive today despite his heroic efforts to kill them when he was younger. If you're a middle child with two brothers you may perhaps understand the permanent psychological damage Nick suffered in his early years.
And so our story progresses to Nick's school years. These are often said to be the "happiest days of your life" - and this is actually true if you intend to have a really sad life. In fact Nick's schooldays were neither happy nor unhappy but somewhere in-between but where that somewhere was he could never quite be sure.
Nick loved reading and writing gory stories and loved history because it was full of bloody bits. He hated maths and any kind of physical activity that didn't involve beating up his brothers. One question often asked of Nick as a best-selling science writer is "did you like science at school?" The only honest answer is "not especially - it was never horrible enough for me." Apart from biology, of course!
As a child, Nick's one dream was to be an author (of gory stories) and it was a dream he clung to rather pathetically as he grew up. By the time he left college with a hatful of history qualifications he decided that the time was "write" to become a writer. The only trouble is that it isn't that easy to get published. But then Nick had a bright idea …
Chapter 2: A sneaky way to get published
In which our hero finds fame and a bit of fortune writing Horrible Science books …
Nick decided he would get a job as an editor in London. Editors prepare books to be published - and so, Nick reasoned, working as an editor might help him get his own books published. So Nick packed a few sandwiches in a spotted handkerchief tied it to the end of a stick and set off down the road to seek his fortune … And OK that didn't actually happen but hey, why spoil a good story?
When Nick arrived in London he was in for a disappointment - there were no editor's jobs around. At last just when he was in the depths of despair, he found a job editing … science books!
Nick was so desperate to work in publishing that he considered any job was better than none - so he took it. And soon he decided that science was a more interesting than anything he had dreamt of at school. (This may have been because Nick had spent his science lessons asleep and dreaming!)
Nick began to write. At first they were little articles that he wrote with a friend named Vip, but the little articles became bigger and appeared in the Guardian newspaper. And Nick and Vip began to write books. For a few years that's how it went on but at last Nick found himself out of work and writing on his own. So he decided to try and live by writing and wrote to every publisher in Britain asking if they would like him to write a book for them.
Some publishers even replied. The publisher that sent the nicest letter was called Scholastic and they were looking for authors for a funny, horrible science series called Horrible Science. At first Nick was confused by their kind offer - how could science be funny or horrible? he wondered. At last he wired up his brain to a light bulb and had a bright idea. What about insects? A lot of people find bugs scary but they can be quite amusing too - and if you've ever seen a teacher with ants in his pants you'll know why. Oh yes, and the study of insects is 100% definitely part of science!
Well, that idea became Ugly Bugs - the first Horrible Science book but this raised the question of who would be mad enough to draw the cartoons for the book? Well, as luck would have it an illustrator named Tony de Saulles was prowling the corridors of Scholastic looking for work and since his crazy cartoons proved a perfect match for Nick's wacky words - the good folk at Scholastic did the sensible thing and teamed them up as author and artist. Meanwhile the light bulb was glimmering again as Nick hit upon another idea …
He suddenly realised that the body is even more horrible and funny than insects and that was the idea for Blood, Bones and Body Bits - Nick's second book. The two books were published together and they would have taken off like rockets in the bestseller charts if they weren't too busy selling like hot cakes. The rest is history …
Chapter 3: The write stuff
In which we discover an easy way to find out the highs and lows of Nick's career as a writer …
To this day Nick hasn't stopped writing and his life has been so action-packed that you would have to be a REALLY patient reader to read through it all. So instead here are few news headlines …
HORRIBLE AUTHOR SUFFERS EVEN MORE HORRIBLE DISASTER!
Horrible Science author Nick Arnold has broken his arm whilst performing a Horrible Science show. He finished the show and signed books before he was rushed to hospital. Nick's doctors say his injury "wasn't exactly a lucky break.
HORRIBLE AUTHOR WINS TOP PRIZE … AGAIN!
Nick Arnold and Tony de Saulles have won the Aventis Prize - Britain's top science book award for their book Really Rotten Experiments. They won the prize for their first two books back in 1997.
HORRIBLE AUTHOR IN CHINA VISIT SENSATION
Nick Arnold is the first British children's author to tour China. He and artist Tony de Saulles did the trip to film a TV programme and launch the Chinese Horrible Science series.
2006 - Nick Arnold founds the Appledore Book Festival after saving the local library from closure and helping to lead a campaign to save five other libraries. Nick becomes Book Festival Director and the Festival gets bigger and bigger every year as thousands or happy readers flock to hear their favourite author. Nick organises fantastic publicity stunts like this giant wheel of fire.
2008 - Nick Arnold gets worldwide publicity after he finds the site of the lost Battle of Cynuit. It was lost for one thousand years and so there wasn't anyone around who knew where it was. But Nick is a bit of a history fan in his spare time.
Anyway you can read about Nick's outrageous adventures by clicking right here to discover NICK'S NEWS.
See you in a moment, readers!