Related to: 'The True Colour of Forever'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell’s Hiccup books, which she also illustrates, are now published in over 30 countries around the world and the first book in the series, How to Train Your Dragon, has been made into an animated movie by DreamWorks; Cressida also writes and illustrates picture books. The eleventh title in the Hiccup Saga, How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel, is published in September, and here she talks to Graham Marks about pretty much everything to do with writing a hit series…

Hodder Children's Books

The Loose Ends List

Carrie Firestone
Carrie Firestone

.The trip of a lifetime, a summer of love - unputdownable writing, perfect for fans of John Green and E. Lockhart. Maddie O'Neill Levine wants to spend the summer before college tying up loose ends with her best friends - kissing boys and soaking up the last of the summer sun. Then her beloved grandmother drops a bombshell; she has been diagnosed with cancer. To spend quality time with her family, Maddie's grandmother takes the whole family on a round-the-word cruise - but at the end of it, Gram might not return home. Here is a story about love, loss and the power of forgiveness.

Andy Stanton

Andy Stanton has written eight books about Mr Gum, along with further successful fiction and picture book titles. He was overall winner of the Red House Children's Book Award for You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum! and won the inaugural Roald Dahl Funny Prize for Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear. He has twice won the Blue Peter Book Award for Best Book With Pictures, and been shortlisted for a host of other awards.

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.

Caroline Lawrence

Caroline Lawrence is American. She lives with her husband by the river in London and is active as a speaker in schools and at book festivals. She took part in the British Museum's POMPEII LIVE event, giving talks that were streamed to schools all over the UK, and she is the winner of the 2009 CLASSICS ASSOCIATION PRIZE for 'a significant contribution to the public understanding of Classics'. In addition to the 17 novels in the ROMAN MYSTERIES sequence, Caroline Lawrence has written five spin-off titles, all of which have contributed to total UK sales in excess of 1 million copies. Visit Caroline's website at and follow her on Twitter @CarolineLawrenc.

Caryl Hart

Caryl Hart is the author of many bestselling books for children, including the hugely successful How to Grow A Dinosaur and The Princess and the Peas. She is the winner of the Stockport Children's Book Award, the Sheffield Children's Book Award and the Lancashire Share a Story Award. Caryl lives on the top of a windy hill in the Peak District with her guitar-playing husband, two cheeky daughters, one extremely fluffy black cat, a goldfish, four hens and an invisible dog called Paddy.Follow Caryl at and @carylhart1

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.

Elizabeth Dale

Elizabeth Dale always dreamed of being a writer but somehow got side-tracked into studying for a physics degree, followed by health service management. When her children were born she finally returned to her dream, writing thousands of short stories for magazines all over the world. Re-discovering a love of children's books while reading to her daughters, she decided to turn her hand to writing them - and has now published over twenty books for children, including picture books and junior fiction. Writing is her full-time job, but also her favourite activity. She also enjoys reading, gardening, walking, and being in the country. Her favourite children's books include Walk Two Moons, The Selfish Giant, Cosmic, and Someone Else's Life. She loves watching cosy sentimental films, such as You've Got Mail, Return to Me, and While You Were Sleeping, as well as classic old films starring Cary Grant, Fred Astaire and Doris Day. Elizabeth is married, with three daughters, and lives in a village in West Sussex. Her daughters, Katie and Jenny, are also children's authors with Hachette.

Ellie Sandall

Ellie loved drawing from an early age and has a passion for picture books (she keeps her collection in a huge wardrobe in her studio!) After competing a degree in Graphic Design at Bath Spa University, she became interested in drawing and writing specifically for children, and went on to achieve a Master's degree in Children's Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. As a child, her favourite picture book was The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and she still loves the work of Eric Carle. In her spare time Ellie loves to get stuck into some DIY or go out in her kayak, and she dreams of one day owning her very own sausage dog.

Emma Dodd

Emma was brought up in Guildford, Surrey, in a family of artists. As a child she loved the work of Peter Firmin, John Burningham and Gerald Rose, and from as far back as she can remember she wanted to be an illustrator. Emma studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Central Saint Martin's School of Art and has worked in advertising, editorial and book illustration. The I Love You range has sold over 750,000 copies and I Love My Mummy won the Book Trust Early Years Award. Emma lives in Surrey with her husband and two children and their terrier cross, Buzz, who keeps her fit and provides inspiration. The family likes to spend any spare time in North Cornwall, surfing and walking in all weathers.

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.

Enid Richemont

Although I've lived for most of my life in north London, I was born and grew up in South Wales. My mum read to me a great deal,and I think it was from her that I developed my love of language. I also enjoyed drawing and painting, and eventually won a scholarship to study at Dublin College of Art.When I came back from Eire, I first worked as a teacher in a Rudolf Steiner school. Then I came to London and took a number of strange jobs, including reading aloud to a blind writer and typing out his manuscript. The typewriter I'd hired to do this had some paid-for time left, so I used it to write a short story which I sold to a women's magazine. It became the first of many, and the beginning of a successful career. While my children were growing up, I stopped writing, and started a small design business, making screen-printed puppet theatres, flying saucers and playhouses that looked like medieval battle tents.Work took us to Paris, where we lived for two years, and where, incidentally, I first encountered the Romanian gipsy girl who features in my novel, FOR MARITSA WITH LOVE (Simon&Schuster).My first children's book, THE TIME TREE (Walker Books) grew out of a story I told my daughter and her best friend to pass the time on a very long walk (the original idea came from a TV programme I'd watched about teaching children with hearing problems). The girls begged me to write it down so that they could read it for themselves - so I did. This book is currently being marketed as a film series by Wild Thyme Productions.TO SUMMON A SPIRIT (Walker Books), was one of the Pick of the Year titles listed in the Children's Book Award. I'm now published in the USA and Australia as well as the UK, and my work has been translated into Danish, German and Japanese.My first book for Franklin Watts was PLOP CITY, a book about bird poo which continues to be loved, especially by small boys. I have two copies of the Arabic version

Francesca Simon

Francesca Simon worked for 12 years as a freelance arts journalist, writing for the Sunday times, and The Guardian amongst others. Francesca wrote her first children's book in 1989 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. She lives in London with her husband and son.Francesca Simon spent her childhood on the beach in California, and then went to Yale and Oxford Universities to study medieval history and literature. She now lives in London with her family. She has written over 50 books and won THE CHILDREN'S BOOK OF THE YEAR at the Galaxy British Book Awards for HORRID HENRY AND THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN. Visit Francesca's website at and keep up-to-date with Horrid Henry at You can also follow her on Twitter @simon_francesca

Garry Parsons

Garry studied Fine Art at Canterbury and the Illustration Sequential Design MA at Brighton. He has illustrated many books and has won various awards, including the Red House Children's Book Award, the Stockport Schools Book Award, the Nottingham Children's Book Award and an AOI Images award.

Giles Andreae

Giles Andreae is the author of many top-selling, award-winning picture books. These include Rumble in the Jungle, Commotion in the Ocean and I Love My Mummy. However, it is for the international bestseller Giraffes Can't Dance that he is best known. Giles is also the creator of Purple Ronnie, Britain's favourite stickman, and of the artist/philosopher, Edward Monkton. These two ranges of greetings cards, books and merchandise have made Giles the country's top-selling living poet. Giles lives with his wife, Victoria, a children's clothes designer, and their four young children by the river in Oxfordshire.

Jackie Walter

Jackie Walter has written and edited many books for children. She never gets tired of listening to and telling a good story. Jackie lives in Cornwall with her husband and young daughters.

Jan Burchett

Jan and Sara were already friends when one day they decided they wanted to write children's stories and it would be more fun to write them together. That was 18 years ago. Since then they've written over 160 stories - including some about ghosts, football, ghosts playing football and naughty gargoylz. Jan lives in Essex with her family and Sara lives in London with hers. They both have black cats who completely rule their lives. For more information, please visit Jan and Sara's website and follow them on Twitter at Keep up-to-date with the Sam Silver: Undercover Pirate blog at

Jim Field

Jim Field is a lead-driven, pencil-pushing, 25-frames-per-second Led Zeppelin fan. He is also a hugely talented illustrator and animation director. His first picture book Cats Ahoy! won the Booktrust Roald Dahl Funny Prize and was nominated for the Kate Greenaway award. He has since illustrated a string of bestselling, multi-award-winning children's books, including Oi Frog! and The Lion Inside, as well as young fiction series Rabbit and Bear.

Julian Gough

Julian Gough is the author of several novels, a children's book, some BBC radio plays, and the narrative at the end of the wonderful computer game, Minecraft (TIME magazine's computer game of the year). His first children's book, Rabbit's Bad Habits, published in 2016, has been widely critically-acclaimed; Neil Gaiman called 'a laugh-out-loud story', and Eoin Colfer called 'an instant modern classic'. Julian has won the BBC National Short Story Award and has been shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. He also, in his youth, wrote the words (and sang) on four albums by the cult Galway group, Toasted Heretic, and had a top-ten hit in Ireland with 'Galway and Los Angeles', a song about not kissing Sinead O'Connor. He was born in London, raised in Tipperary, educated in Galway and now lives in Berlin.

Katie Dale

Katie Dale had her first poem 'The Fate of The School Hamster' published in The Cadbury's Book of Children's Poetry, aged 8 and hasn't stopped writing since. On graduating, she went travelling through South-East Asia - only to discover whilst in a Vietnam internet cafe that she was a winner of the SCBWI 2008 Undiscovered Voices competition.