For a long time, my first readers were my children. When they were quite young, they were happy just to hear the story, and reading it out loud was a good way for me to spot problems. Then as they grew, they’d offer first reader feedback, like ‘that doesn’t make sense’ or ‘what happened to that character – they’ve changed’. One by one, they grew too old, they said, to want to read my stories, until it was only the youngest who read them. He was very good with feedback, with a wonderful nose for inconsistencies.

But yesterday, he signalled the end. He read the two stories I asked him to. Provided good feedback too. But that’s the end, he said. He’s no longer in touch with my target audience, he said (although he used different words). I’m sad in a way, but also quite impressed with his ability to verbalise that change. And he let me down gently.

Don’t believe everything the world says about teenage boys. I reckon they’re great.