CHILDREN at Bridlewood Primary School were treated to a special talk from author Peter Bunzl on Wednesday as he shared the secret to creating a masterpiece.

His debut children’s novel Cogheart was Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month for August and he shared his inspirations with his captivated audience of Year Four pupils.

The talk was held in the library at Isambard Community School and involved an animation workshop followed by a book signing.

Explaining his inspiration for the book, Peter said: “When I was younger, I lived in a big house with my parents in London and my dad sold antiques in a shop, which I was able to draw on when I was writing.”

His mum made costumes for actors in films – most notably the 1983 Bond movie Octopussy – which gave him a love of film and animation.

“Hopefully one day someone will make a film of the book – or help me make one,” said Peter.

The novel tells the tale of two friends who go on an intrepid adventure filled with intrigue, murder and mayhem. It features robots, villains and a jaw-dropping airship crash.

It took about three years to complete and required three or four hours of writing each day.

Peter told the kids how he researched airships and, particularly, the Hindenburg Disaster in the 1930s which inspired him to write his own balloon crash.

As he explained: “It was such a large disaster that they stopped using airships and started investing in aeroplanes instead.”

He advised his audience: “With writing, just like with animation, you take all the individual parts, put them together and it comes to life.”

Stella Rogers, learning resources centre manager at the school, said: “We work closely with as many authors as we possibly can. We are very proud of the library we have here, so it’s nice to be able to show it off.

“I think it was fantastic for the children because it’s so easy to take these things for granted. It’s good for them to see how long it actually takes to get a book into print and all the work that has to be done first.

“It was a brilliant group of pupils and they asked terrific questions.

“We are hoping to encourage reading for pleasure. We get so bogged down in exams and hitting targets that we sometimes forget just how important it is to read for pleasure.”

Peter read a scene from the book and showed the students a short video about the wonders of animation.

He said: “Writing the book was really hard, but worth it, and it was a fantastic feeling when I had finally finished it.

“Because I work in film and animation, the ideas I come up with are very visual and it is quite a good way to come up with story ideas if you find a picture that inspires you.”