Theo Behe, 14-year-old Berkhamsted Raiders footballer, whose graphic novel based on the real-life story of his great uncle in the Second World War has become an Amazon bestseller

You are publisher Markosia's youngest ever author, tell us about your graphic novel, Johnny Recruit
Johnny might only be 14 but he’s the largest kid everyone knows. When Johnny learns that his uncle Bert is being held by Germans across the ocean, he’s sure there's only one person in the whole world who can save his best friend - himself, so he signs up to the RAF. But when a British pilot threatens to tell everyone his real age, Johnny faces big tough decisions no kid should have to make.

What was your inspiration?
In primary school, I created a comic book in a notepad about my great uncle, Bert Houle. He was a Canadian World War Two RAF ace who earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses. In this short storyboard I told a little story about his time in Egypt. I was always amazed by what he did. I am very close to my family in Canada and stay all summer with my great uncle's extended relatives in Northern Ontario every year, including Manitoulin, the world's largest freshwater island, where the story begins. When I visited Juno Beach a few summers ago I saw the Dieppe memorial, and my family talked about Uncle Bert and his heroics. After that it made sense to write an action hero book about him, World War Two, Dieppe, Canada, and Germany.

What do you love about graphic novels?
I really do like superhero comics - they are so well written and illustrated. I’m not sure if people know the effort the artists put into penciling, inking and colouring each page - it’s so many hours.

What's been the reaction to the book?
We’ve talked to lots of magazines, TV and newspapers including BBC, CBBC and even had a review next to Top Gun in the Sun. It’s been pretty insane. I like seeing reviews about the book as much as speaking about Johnny Recruit. If he were alive today my great uncle Bert would probably be wondering why everyone is making a fuss about him.

Where do you get your love of storytelling?
I do read quite a lot. Although comics are great, I most like paperback novels. I used to read all the teen hero books like Alex Rider and Percy Jackson - but now it’s the military, action and history novels like Jack Reacher and those by Chris Ryan that I’m now into.

What's next?
Without giving the story away there is a great opportunity for a sequel - so I might write that or even work on a screenplay version of the book. Writers should create something they like but will also teach people or other kids a lesson. I think the book’s big double-page landscapes encourage people to find the clues to piece the story together. And the reader can use their imagination to fill in the gaps between each page. Most of all I hope Johnny Recruit can show other kids they too can tell a story without being an expert artist or writer - they can work with others to bring it all to life.

Johnny Recruit by Theo Behe and illustrated by Thomas Muzzell is out now, £14.99