Related to: 'How to Defend Your Dragon'

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…

Alan Gibbons

Alan Gibbons is a full-time writer and a visiting speaker and lecturer at schools, colleges and literary events nationwide, including the major book festivals: Edinburgh, Northern Children's Book Festival, Swansea, Cheltenham, Sheffield and Salford. Alan is a key supporter of a high-profile, nationwide campaign to champion libraries and librarianship and to reevaluate government commitment to educational spending. He lives in Liverpool with his wife and four children. Alan is an honorary CILIP member.Visit Alan's website at www.alangibbons.com, read his blog at alangibbons.net, follow him on Twitter @mygibbo, Facebook www.facebook.com/alan.gibbons.35 and Flickr www.flickr.com/people/71279646@N08.

Amanda Swift

Amanda Swift first worked as an actress, appearing in many commercials, including one for Angel Delight and another for Italian toilet-paper, Foxy. Theatre work included a show at Polka Children's Theatre and creating the role of the cleaning lady, Elvira Muckett, for Tony Hart's art show, Hartbeat. She has written for several children's series, including My Parents are Aliens, and has dramatised two Jacqueline Wilson books for Radio 4. She has written three novels for 9-12 year olds: The Boys' Club, Big Bones and Anna/Bella. She lives in London with her husband and her two hairy teenage sons. Jennifer Gray lives in central London and Scotland with her husband, 4 children and overfed cat, Henry (after Henry the Eighth). She has been writing children's comedy for a couple of years and her work has received an honorary mention in the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices Competition. Jennifer likes writing about everything from guinea pigs to fairy godmothers, cats with attitude and evil geniuses. She recently completed the Certificate in Novel Writing course at City University. Writing is Jennifer's passion (along with chocolate cake) and her ambition is to be nominated for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize one day.

Britta Teckentrup

Britta Teckentrup is an illustrator, fine artist and writer. She was born in Hamburg, Germany, and went on to study at St. Martin's College and the Royal College of Art in London. Britta has created over 40 books, translated in 20 languages worldwide, and her artwork has been shown at exhibitions all over the world. She lives and works in Berlin with her artist husband and their young son.

Cath Senker

Cath Senker is a children's non-fiction writer who specialises in writing about modern history, global issues and world religions. Her latest history titles include Living Through the Vietnam War (Raintree, 2011), Our World Divided: Israel and the Middle East (Wayland, 2011) and A Cultural History of Women in America: Women Claim the Vote (Bailey Publishing, 2011). She has a particular interest in the topics of migration, refugees and racism and recently wrote Mapping Global Issues: Immigrants and Refugees (Arcturus, 2011). In her work, Cath aims to highlight individuals' experiences and to present different viewpoints in a non-judgemental way as a basis for discussion.Cath also works as a project manager and editor on non-fiction titles for both children and adults. Before embarking on a freelance career, she worked as a commissioning editor for a children's educational publishing company for eight years. She is also an experienced ESOL teacher. Cath volunteers with City Reads, a project that aims to widen the enjoyment of books and reading among people of all ages, especially people from disadvantaged communities. She is a also a keen amateur cyclist, cook and gardener.

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 www.clivegifford.co.uk

Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell is the author and the illustrator of the bestselling How to Train Your Dragon 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), publishes in September 2017. Cressida is an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust and the Reading Agency and a founder patron of the Children's Media Foundation. She has won numerous prizes for her books, including the Gold Award in the Nestle Children's Book Prize , 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: www.rainbowmagicbooks.co.uk and www.magicanimalfriends.co.uk

David Tennant

David Tennant is a respected classical actor who has performed numerous starring roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company.He was nominated for a 2003 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actor.He also has numerous TV credits, including Mr Gibson in 'He Knew he was Right', DI Carlisle in 2004's 'Blackpool', and his film roles include Barty Crouch Jnr in 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' (2005). From the end of 2005, he will be appearing as Dr Who in the series of that name.His audiobook readings for Hodder include How To Train Your Dragon, How to be a Pirate.

Elisa Paganelli

Elisa Paganelli was born in Modena (Italy), and since childhood cannot resist the smell of paper and pencils. She attended the Institute of Art and subsequently graduated from the European Institute of Design (IED) in Turin with a degree in illustration. As a post-grad, Elisa worked as a graphic designer for a communication agency. However she realized that this wasn't the life for her, so she decided to set up her own art and design studio. (She also ran a successful design shop for 6 years, but this is another story.)Elisa devotes most of her time to her passion for images and words. She thinks of herself as a kind of hermit, immersed in her quiet world of nature and books, accompanied by a cup of tea and her beloved pet-assistants. She now collaborates with publishers and advertising agencies all over the world, and also writes for a newspaper's lifestyle column.

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 Bookstart 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 like 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.

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 www.francescasimon.com and keep up-to-date with Horrid Henry at www.horridhenry.co.uk. You can also follow her on Twitter @simon_francesca

Franklin Watts

Franklin Watts is well-known for its high-quality and attractive books. We aim to give children of all abilities a life-long love of learning and reading.

Izzi Howell

Izzi Howell is the author and editor of over fifty children's books. She lives in East Sussex and enjoys learning languages, cooking and travelling around Europe.

Jennifer Gray

Jennifer Gray is a former lawyer and now writes children's comedy. Her other work includes the Atticus Claw series. She lives in central London and Scotland with her family. Amanda Swift is a former actress. She has written for several children's series, including My Parents are Aliens, and dramatised two Jacqueline Wilson books for Radio 4. She has written three novels for the 9+ age group. She lives in south-east London.

Jim Field

A lead-driven, pencil-pushing, 25-frames-per-second, Led Zeppelin fan, Jim Field is also a hugely talented illustrator and animation director. His first picture book Cats Ahoy! won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. The bestselling Oi Frog! books, written by Kes Gray, have been shortlisted for numerous prizes, as has The Lion Inside with Rachel Bright. His vibrant, energetic style and witty detail delight children and adults alike.

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.

Lauren Child

Lauren Child MBE is a multi award-winning author and current Children's Laureate, whose books are known and loved the world over. She is the creator of many much-loved characters, including Charlie and Lola, Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort. Since her first book was published in 1999, Lauren has sold over six million books in 19 languages worldwide. Her many awards include the prestigious Kate Greenaway Prize for I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato, the Nestle Gold Book Award for That Pesky Rat and the Nestle Bronze Book Award for Beware of the Storybook Wolves. Lauren loves designing and making things and finds it exciting to see her drawings turned into objects. Other favourite things include the cinema, TV matinees, small Italian cars, handbags, cardigans, travelling and being picked up from the airport.

Lauren St John

Lauren St John is the author of several books on sports and music, as well as the award-winning children's series THE WHITE GIRAFFE, the BLUE PETER BOOK AWARD-winning LAURA MARLIN series and THE ONE DOLLAR HORSE trilogy. Her first adult novel, THE OBITUARY WRITER, was published in 2013. Visit Lauren's website at www.laurenstjohn.com, like her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Lauren-St-John/120957211278399 and follow her on Twitter @laurenstjohn

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent and the author of the poetry collections Gil Scott Heron Is on Parole and Nothing Here Needs Fixing. Maxine's short fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in numerous publications including Overland, The Age, Meanjin, The Saturday Paper and The Big Issue. Her critically acclaimed short fiction collection Foreign Soil (2014) won the ABIA for Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2015, the 2015 Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction, and Maxine was also named as one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Novelists for 2015, as well as being shortlisted for the Matt Richell Award for New Writing at the 2015 ABIAs and the 2015 Stella Prize. A collection of Maxine's poetry Carrying The World, her memoir The Hate Race and her first children's picture book The Patchwork Bike will be published in 2016.