Related to: 'When Darkness Comes'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

Emmy Laybourne

Emmy Laybourne is, in her own words, ‘a writer, teacher and a recovering character actress’ who lives in upstate New York with her husband ‘and two surprisingly well-mannered children’. Here she talks to Graham Marks, on Skype, about how she became a writer, the highs and lows of starting out on a writing career, and her novel, Monument 14.

Hodder Children's Books

Voyage to Valhalla

Robert Swindells
Robert Swindells

When Davy and his friends discover the skull of an ancient Briton buried in the woods, they decide to unearth as much as they can of the skeleton themselves before telling any adults. But by the time they have disinterred the skeletons, Davy has become the subject of hauntings and hallucinations.

Orchard Books

The Orchard Book Of Viking Stories

Robert Swindells, Peter Utton
Robert Swindells, Peter Utton

The fiery world of the Vikings is filled with amazing adventures and acts of courage. Battles with mighty giants, demons and dwarves abound and superhuman gods - Thor, Odin and many more - leap from the pages. These retellings will fire every child's imagination. All the drama, magica and mystery of Robert Swindells' stories are captured in Peter Utton's illustrations, which bring the world of the Vikings so vividly to life.

Abie Longstaff

Abie Longstaff is the eldest of six children and grew up in Australia, Hong Kong and France. She knows all about squabbling and bossing younger sisters around so she began her career as a barrister. She started writing when her children were born. Her books include The Fairytale Hairdresser series and The Magic Potions Shop books. She has a life-long love of fairy tales and mythology and her work is greatly influenced by these themes. Abie got the idea for the Trapdoor Mysteries from her parents' house in France. The house is big and old, with lots of rooms and outbuildings. In one of the bedrooms, there is a secret entrance hidden in a fireplace. It leads to a room that was used by the French Resistance during the war. It was the perfect idea for a book! Abie lives with her family by the seaside in Hove.

Alex T. Smith

Author-illustrator Alex T. Smith is the award-winning creator of the bestselling Claude series, which is published in 16 languages worldwide, and begins airing as a TV show on Disney Junior in 2018. Alex's newest series, Mr Penguin, launched in 2017, to widespread praise. Alex's quirky, witty writing and illustrations are instantly recognisable, critically-acclaimed and as popular with adults as children. Alex is also widely-praised for his work illustrating children's classics: he won Children's Book of the World Illustration Award 2016 for his illustrations in a new edition of Dodie Smith's The Hundred and One Dalmatians; he has created new art for books by Enid Blyton, Eva Ibbotson and Richmal Crompton. Alex has collaborated with Watership Down author Richard Adams on his last book, Egg Box Dragon, as well as David Almond, and Juno Dawson. Alex has won the UKLA Picture Book Award and the Sainsbury's Children's Book Award, and been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Award. He was the official World Book Day illustrator in 2014.

Andrew Fusek Peters

Andrew Fusek Peters is an Anglo-Czech poet, storyteller, didgeridoo player, broadcaster, anthologist and author with an international reputation. He is the UK's tallest poet (6'8''!!) and has worked in thousands of schools, libraries, arts centres and literary festivals, giving lively performances and running workshops with all ages and abilities. 'An experienced and accomplished anthologist', according to the TES, Andrew has published more than 70 books and his poems appear in the Poetry Archive, set up by the Poet Laureate to record the best poets. Polly Peters is a former English and Drama teacher. She was previously Head of Drama at a sixth form college and currently works as a youth/community theatre leader, director and playwright.

Ben Hubbard

Ben Hubbard began his writing career at a what's-on newspaper in the 1990s, interviewing bands, actors and artists in his native Wellington, New Zealand. He later joined the fast-paced world of daily newspaper journalism before packing up shop and moving to England. Here, Ben tied a number of new strings to his bow: magazine editor, book editor, and finally, author. Today, Ben writes a mix of non-fiction for all ages - preschoolers through to adults. He has penned titles on an eclectic subject range: from space exploration, samurai warriors and medieval castles; to pop music, pets, tornadoes and rugby skills.

Chris Higgins

Before writing her first novel, Chris taught English and Drama for many years in secondary schools. She also worked at the Minack, the open-air theatre on the cliffs near Land's End, but now writes full-time.Chris has won a number of awards including Young Minds, the Lancashire Book Award, the Lincolnshire Young People's Book Award, the KYBA, and she has been shortlisted twice for Queen of Teen.She lives in the far west of Cornwall with her husband.

Clive Gifford

Clive Gifford is the author of more than 150 children's books including Eye Benders, winner of the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize, Royal Society-nominated Out of This World and Cool Technology which won the School Library Association Information Book Award. He has travelled through 70 countries, run a computer games company and taken part in all manner of sports from parachuting and gliding to Ultimate Frisbee. Clive's official website can be found at

Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell is the author and the illustrator of the bestselling How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once book series, and the author of the Emily Brown picture books, illustrated by Neal Layton. How to Train Your Dragon has sold over 8 million books worldwide in 38 languages. It is also an award-winning DreamWorks film series, and a TV series shown on Netflix and CBBC. The first book in Cressida's new series, The Wizards of Once (also signed by DreamWorks), is a number one bestseller.Cressida is an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust and the Reading Agency, a Trustee of World Book Day and a founder patron of the Children's Media Foundation. She has won numerous prizes, including the Gold Award in the Nestle Children's Book Prize,the 2017 Ruth Rendell Award for Championing Literacy, the Hay Festival Medal for Fiction, and Philosophy Now' magazine's 2015 Award for Contributions in the Fight Against Stupidity. She grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland and she now lives in Hammersmith with her husband, three children and a dog called Pigeon.

Daisy Meadows

Daisy Meadows is the author of the bestselling series Rainbow Magic and Magic Animal Friends. Her books have sold over 30 million copies worldwide.You can find out all about her magical stories and much more at the series websites: and

E. J. Clarke

Rowan Oakwing came from an idea that popped into Ed's head and wouldn't leave until he wrote it down. He lives in North London and is married with two young daughters who would like to be fairies. He hopes this book will give them that chance. When he isn't writing books, Ed works as Head of Film and Television at Shoebox Films where his partners include the film director Joe Wright (Pan, Atonement, Pride and Prejudice) and the venerable film producer, Paul Webster (Pan, Atonement, Eastern Promises). Shoebox's most recent film was the critically acclaimed Locke starring Tom Hardy on which Ed was a Development Producer.

Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton's books have sold over 500 million copies and have been translated into other languages more often than any other children's author.She wrote over 600 books and hundreds of short stories, including favourites such as The Famous Five,The Secret Seven, The Magic Faraway Tree, Malory Towers and Noddy. Born in London in 1897, Enid lived much of her life in Buckinghamshire and adored dogs, gardening and the countryside. She died in 1968 but remains one of the world's best-loved storytellers.

Jean Reagan

Jean Reagan was born in Alabama but spent most of her childhood in Japan. She now lives in Salt Lake City in America with her husband. In the summers, they serve as backcountry volunteers in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. To learn more about Jean and her work, please visit

Jessica Townsend

Jessica Townsend lives on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, but has dipped in and out of London life over the past decade, tucking the best and strangest parts of the city into the corners of her brain for future fictional use. She was previously a copywriter and the editor of a children's wildlife magazine for Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo. Her pet fascinations include public transport, ancient cities, hotels, Christmas, opera singers, Halloween, secret societies and gigantic cats - all of which have weaselled their way into Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, her first novel and a city that feels like it belongs entirely to her. (Except now it belongs to you, too.)

John Malam

John Malam studied Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, after which he worked as an archaeologist at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum in Shropshire. He is now an author specialising in information books for children and is a National Literacy Trust Reading Champion. He lives in Cheshire with his wife, a teacher, and has two grown-up children.

Jon Richards

Jon Richards is an award-winning author of non-fiction books for children. He specialises in visual literacy, infographics and data visualisation.

Kes Gray

Kes is a bestselling, multi award-winning author of more than 70 books for children. He eats Ideaflakes for breakfast, spreads silliness on his toast and lives in a place called Different.Oi Frog!, Oi Dog! and Oi Cat! are a top ten bestselling series. Oi Dog! was shortlisted for the Sainsbury's Children's Book Award and the British Book Awards in 2016, amongst others. It also won the Teach Primary New Children's Fiction Award, MadeForMums Award, Bishop's Stortford Picture Book Award and Portsmouth Picture Book Award. Oi Cat! was the Independent Booksellers Children's Book of the Season and Oi Goat! is a World Book Day book in 2018.

Lee Wildish

Lee Wildish is an acclaimed illustrator. His Spooky, Spooky House won the Overall Red House Children's Book Award, his Spaghetti with the Yeti was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Book Prize, and he has been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award and the Sheffield Children's Book Award.

Marcus Sedgwick

Marcus Sedgwick used to work in children's publishing and before that he was a bookseller. He now happily writes full-time. His books have been shortlisted for many awards, including The GUARDIAN CHILDREN'S FICTION AWARD, the BLUE PETER BOOK AWARD, the CARNEGIE MEDAL and the EDGAR ALLAN POE AWARD. Marcus lives in Cambridge and has a teenage daughter, Alice.Find his website at and follow him on Twitter @marcussedgwick

Max Wainewright

Max has written over 20 educational software titles for children. His programs and websites have won a number of awards including BETT, ERA and Practical Pre-School Gold Awards. Max also used to be a primary school teacher. He lives in London with his wife and two children.