Sam Copeland is nominated for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize – as an author and as a literary agent.

Mr Copeland, who lives in Ealing, is up for the Books for Younger Readers award for ‘Charlie Changes Into A Chicken’.

As an agent, his client Holly Jackson features in the Older Readers category for ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’, so they will not directly compete – unless they win their respective categories.

Mr Copeland said: “I get on well with her and we think it’s a great laugh we’ve been shortlisted together.

“She’s been a monster hit, her book has sold so many copies, so she should win the YA prize.”

‘Charlie Changes Into A Chicken’ is the first book of a trilogy loosely based on the unrecognised anxiety Mr Copeland had as a child growing up in Manchester.

The third adventure in the series, ‘Charlie Morphs Into a Mammoth’, was released on Thursday (February 6).

In the first part, protagonist Charlie McGuffin tries to be an optimist but is really a bit of a worrier, something which definitely plagued Mr Copeland when he was pitching it to others in the industry he works in.

He said: “When I was writing the book, I didn’t believe it would be published. When I submitted it to agencies, I did it anonymously because I was worried I would be a laughing stock.”

He said he loves being an agent, part of a history which has seen himself surrounded by words, including being an author, a fan and a bookseller for Books Etc. 

Mr Copeland said: “Books have been my life. All my working life, I’ve worked with books.”

He’s cited Northfields as his favourite part of Ealing. “The community spirit there is excellent,” he said. “I love that I can walk around and say hello to friendly people, if we were stuck for help, there’d be loads of people we can call on.”

Mike O’Connell, Waterstones Bookshop Manager in Ealing, said his nomination was ‘brilliant news’.

Mr O’Connell said: “Sam’s books are brilliantly funny. He is popular in the local community and actively supports reading in the borough's schools. We are all over the moon he's made the short list.”

Mr Copeland said he learnt a lot from those school experiences – even if he was reluctant to deal with children initially.

Mr Copeland said: “The one part of being an author I was dreading the most, which was dealing with children, is the bit I love the most. I love going to schools, I love meeting kids.

“I can swap hats quite swiftly. One minute I’m talking to kids, the next I’m emailing authors, then I’m talking to publishers. The next minute, I’m trying to write, and then I’ve got to come home and be a family man. It gives me life, it gives me energy. It’s exhausting but it’s great having a new lease of life in my middle-age.”

His advice to new authors? “Just read, and make sure what you’re writing is every bit as good as what’s out there, if not better.”

On a good day, he thinks his books are as good as what’s out there – even if they include his clients.