The McFly musician, children’s author and father of two shares the good, the bad and the oh-so honest about family life
How has life been lately as dad to your boys Buzz [three] and Buddy [one]?
Great! We’ve just got back from an amazing trip to Disneyland, which threw up the usual challenges of trying to get through airports with two kids and a crazy amount of luggage. Now we’re home, it’s back to normality!
Does Giovanna ever feel outnumbered?
[Laughs] Maybe when we’re running around dressed as Star Wars characters and having battles on the sofa. We’re a definite unit, but I’m sure there are moments when she feels like a single mother with three kids…
So would you say you’re the ‘fun’ parent?
I think you have to be a bit of everything. You can be the one who is silly and fun but you also have to be responsible sometimes and tell them, ‘no, you can’t climb out of the window’. There will be phases when you’ll be the one the kids come to when they want to play; other times you’ll be the one they come to when they fall over and hurt themselves.
Where do you go when you feel like dodging dad responsibilities once in a while?
Whenever I’m not in dad mode, it’s because I’m working. Like this morning, I was literally Dad until I stepped into a cab and came into London. When they go to bed, that’s when we get to do adult things. You know, like shopping for carpets and curtains.
Tell us more about your new title, There’s a Monster in Your Book.
It was actually the first book I ever wrote. I was on tour, and I remember having this idea for a children’s book that meant when you tilted or shook it, you would see results when you turned the page. I sketched it out roughly on the hotel room notepad – complete with a very badly drawn monster – and showed the rest of the band. They all laughed, so I thought, ‘great, it works!’ Now, six years on, it’s being published.
What made you want to go into children’s writing in the first place?
When I was on tour, I would always end up in bookshops to get inspiration for music and album artwork, and would naturally gravitate towards the children’s section. Plus, I’ve always had a passion to write. At first it was just a side project to McFly, but when The Christmasaurus was published – that’s how much I realised I loved it. I get the same buzz from writing stories as I do from writing music.
What advice would you give to new dads?
Every child is different, and ‘professional’ advice seems to change all the time. Your kid lets you know everything you need to do – you just need to listen to them.
Is that what fatherhood has taught you?
Definitely. Fatherhood isn’t what you expect it to be. As much as I ‘prepared’, it’s still hard. You just have to wing it!