My parents called me Hugh. When I was about 3 months old, my family moved to Pakistan where I was looked after by my Ayah (Nanny). Her name was Uppa. Uppa couldn't say Hugh... she said Shoo instead. It sort of stuck!
When I was a teenager, I thought Shoo was a stupid name and wanted to change it. As my mother is Norwegian, I thought I'd like a Viking name like Lodbrock, but everyone carried on calling me Shoo.
This is a photo of me and Uppa in Quetta, in Pakistan.
My hair was very ginger when I was a boy, so I was sometimes called Rudolph the red-haired Rayner!
What were you like as a boy?
I didn't like having my hair cut! I had very long hair for those days, some people thought I was a girl! It didn't help that I liked to wear daisies in my jumper, like in this picture. I was the original Hippie!
I used to have a lump or cyst over my right eye! It kept growing, but I was quite proud of it. In the end, the doctors decided it needed to be cut out! I had a massive black eye, as you can see!
I always loved animals ~ stray cats would find me and follow me home. This one was called Eek, because of the funny little squeaky noises she made.
I loved dressing-up and pretending to be characters.
Cowboys and indians were favourite in those days. I also wanted to be: Robin Hood, Sir Francis Drake, Noddy and the Captain of Fireball XL5!
I had a club called Animal Rescue. (I think I was theonly member actually.) I used to help ants cross the road so they didn't get crushedby cars! Saving stray cats was my big thing. I wanted to be a farmer or a vet when I grew up.
Where did you go to school?
My first school was called
Draytons, in Wiltshire. I was only 5 when I became the only border! The Head Teacher, Eddie Rosser-Reece, and his Wife became like my second parents. It was a lovely place to have to myself when all the other children had gone home.My friends took pity on me. I went to everyone’s birthday parties!
Where did you live?
My Father was an officer in the British army. Sometimes we lived in England and other times we lived in Germany or Aden. Aden is at the bottom of Arabia. It's very hot and there are sharks in the sea - as this sign on the beach explains. There was a bit of a war going on while we lived in Aden. Some friends of ours were killed when a bomb went off at their teenage party.
We often had an army driver to take us to the beach... probably for our protection! That's my Brother and Sister and our Driver, Private Holmes and a Fabulous Ford Zephyr 6! Can you see the red cat on the car? It was the symbol of the XV Signal Regiment. My Dad was in charge and they called him Top Cat! Did you always want to be an author? Believe it or not, I'm a bit dyslexic. My hand-writing is awful. When I get a great idea, I get so excited that I scribble to get it all down. The only problem is that can't read what I've written!
I have to work very hard at writing. I couldn't be a writer without a computer. Now, I work at being careful and slower at my writing, but I still get carried away in my notebooks and fill up pages of stuff that I can't read! Nowadays I practice my handwriting a lot and try to write more slowly.
Luckily I have quite a good memory for ideas. I did lots of arty things when I left school. I worked in printing, signwriting, mapmaking, and silkscreen printing. I always wanted a job where I didn’t have to get up in the morning! This is me at about the age of 14, when I had the cyst over my eye cut out...ouch!
One day I woke up and decided to go to Art College. I got a place at the Art College in Cambridge. It was a lucky choice. We were taught by the Children's Illustrator, Colin McNaughton. He introduced me to Children's Books and set me on my way. Children’s books seemed to be the place where I could use all my different talents. It was like coming home.
That's a photo of me at Art College in Cambridge.
Is it true that you wanted to be a pop star! Oh yes - I nearly forgot! There was something else...
I wanted to be a Pop Star! I was in a band called Flamazine. I think we were quite good - so did other people, but it was not to be. Marius, the Keyboards player who I used to write the songs with, has done very well since as a record producer and music director. He even won a BAFTA for the film, Moulin Rouge.
It was a lot of fun and I met some really weird people! Yes, that's me as well, all made-up and wrapped in cling-film for the Flamazine Video! You can find out more and see the videos at www.flamazine.co.uk.
Shoo Rayner has written loads of children’s books - over one hundred and fifty! He started out just drawing the pictures and has illustrated some seventy books for other authors, including Michael Morpurgo, Michael Rosen, Rose Impey, Helen Cresswell and Terry Deary.
Shoo likes to write series books. His books are based on wonderful characters like Monster Boy,Viking Vik, Ricky Rocket, The Little Horrors, Scaredy Cats, Millie and Bombassa, The Rex Files, Dark Claw and the Ginger Ninja.
Shoo has used mostly ink pen and watercolour to illustrate his books but recently he has been using the computer and has developed a distinctive graphic style of his own.
Shoo lives in the Forest of Dean, in Gloucestrshire, with his wife and two teenage children. He has Three cats - Shula, Fizz and Fizz’s kitten, Mister Darcey.
He works in the garden in a shed which he built out of old rafters - it is so well insulated that you cannot get a mobile phone signal inside!
Now read some answers to questions people often ask Shoo.