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…

Adam Blade

Adam Blade is the name for a small collective of authors who have been writing the bestselling series Beast Quest and Sea Quest for ten years! Beast Quest has now sold over 10 million copies. The newest series from the Adam Blade team is called Team Hero - it launched in Summer 2017. You can find out more about all these amazing adventures at the series websites: seaquestbooks.co.uk and teamherobooks.co.uk

Adrian Mitchell

Adrian Mitchell was born in London and studied at Oxford University where he passed most of his time learning to write poems. After leaving University, Adrian spent several years as a journalist and his great claim to fame is that he was the first reporter on a national paper to interview the Beatles.Adrian became a full-time writer of plays, stories and poems and was regarded as one of the country's finest poets and playwrights. He was also a regular performer for adults and children and gave over a thousand poetry readings throughout Britain, Europe, USA, Africa and Asia.Adrian's plays included The White Deer, The Wild Animal Song Contest, Mowgli's Jungle, The Snow Queen and The Pied Piper for children, and for adults, Tyger (The National Theatre) and Man Friday. Adrian's version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was premiered by the Royal Shakespeare Company for whom he also adapted Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass for the stage. He also wrote three Beatrix Potter plays which were staged with great success by The Unicorn Theatre for Children - Tom Kitten, Jemima Puddle-Duck and Peter Rabbit and His Friends. Adrian passed away in December 2008 and is survived by his wife, who runs the bookshop Ripping Yarns, in Highgate. www.adrianmitchell.co.uk

Albert Uderzo

Albert Uderzo was born in 1927 in a small village in Marne, France. He met Rene Goscinny in 1951 and on 29 October 1959 their most famous creation, Asterix, made his first appearance on page 20 of Pilote. Asterix the Gaul, their first album, was published in 1961 and there have now been 34 Asterix albums.

Alex T. Smith

Alex graduated from Coventry University with a degree in Illustration and won second place in the Macmillan Prize for Children's Illustration. Claude won the 5-9 young fiction Sainsbury's Children's Book Award, was selected for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize, the Richard and Judy Book Club and is soon to be a TV star on Disney Junior with 52 episodes airing in 2018. Alex T. Smith is a World Book Day Illustrator.

Alison Murray

Alison Murray grew up in Lanarkshire near Glasgow and studied Textile Design at Glasgow School of Art. After graduating she moved to London and did a variety of jobs, including working as a bookseller and rug designer, before completing a MA in Design for Interactive Media at Middlesex University. Having co-founded a successful interactive media company, Alison moved back to Scotland where she now works as a full-time illustrator. She has a string of successful picture books to her name, including Hare and Tortoise and Apple Pie ABC, both shortlisted for the Scottish Children's Book Awards, and Dino Duckling. Alison lives in Glasgow with her husband and their dog.

Alison Steadman

Alison Steadman OBE is a national treasure. Her illustrious and wide-ranging career includes roles in Abigail's Party, Pride and Prejudice, Secrets & Lies and Gavin & Stacey.

Andy Riley

Andy Riley is a highly successful cartoonist and comedy scriptwriter. TV writing credits include HBO's Veep, Gangsta Granny, Robbie the Reindeer, Little Britain and Black Books. Film credits include The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists and Gnomeo and Juliet. His bestselling books include The Bunny Suicides series.

Annabel Savery

Annabel Savery is an experienced writer and editor of children's books. She enjoys researching new topic areas and finding out fascinating facts. In her spare time, she loves to bake and walk along the river.

Becky Down

Becky graduated from Falmouth University with a BA(Hons) Illustration in 2013, and has since been working freelance in her studio in Hampshire. People watching, books, trips to the zoo, and tea on tap all inspire and motivate her to create fun, colourful illustrations using a combination of paint splodges, scribbly pencil and Photoshop. When she is not illustrating, she enjoys baking, films, running and country walks.

Brian Moses

Brian Moses lives in the village of Etchingham with his wife Anne, a loopy labrador called Honey and a collection of bad-tempered chickens.He first worked as a teacher but has now been a professional children's poet since 1988. To date he has over 200 books published including volumes of his own poetry such as Holding the Hands of Angels (Salt) and Behind the Staffroom Door (Macmillan), anthologies such as The Secret Lives of Teachers and Aliens Stole My Underpants (both Macmillan), picture books such as Beetle in the Bathroom and Trouble at the Dinosaur Cafe (both Puffin) and non-fiction titles such as Titanic: Lost & Saved (Wayland). Over 1 million copies of Brian's poetry books have now been sold by Macmillan and in 2005 he was nominated for both the CLPE Award and the Spoken Word Award. Brian also visits schools to run writing workshops and perform his own poetry and percussion shows. To date he has visited well over 2500 schools and libraries throughout the UK. He has made several appearances at the Edinburgh Festival, been writer in residence at Castle Cornet on Guernsey, on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway and at RAF schools in Cyprus. Recently he has visited several International schools in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Spain, France and Ireland.He has performed his poetry at Borders on Second Avenue, New York and in September 2006 he was invited to Iceland to take part in 'Kids in the Marsh' - a festival of children's poetry and song. At the request of Prince Charles he spoke at the Prince's Summer School for Teachers in 2007 at Cambridge University. He is one of ten children's poets invited by then Poet Laureate Andrew Motion to feature on the National Poetry Archive.Favourite book: 'Turtle Diary' by Russell Hoban.Favourite Movie: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Favourite Music: Bob Dylan

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 www.carolinelawrence.com and follow her on Twitter @CarolineLawrenc.

Chris d'Lacey

Chris d'Lacey is the author of the The Last Dragon Chronicles and the Dragons of Wayward Crescent series. He likes dragons. He was born in Malta, but now lives in Devon with his wife, Jay, and about three hundred teddy bears. He likes teddy bears, too. After graduating from York University with a Biology degree, he went to Leicester University where he worked for twenty-eight years as a research scientist, mainly looking down microscopes. He now writes full time.In his spare moments, he likes to watch TV and walk by the sea - though not necessarily at the same time. His passion is writing and recording songs. His ultimate ambition is to write a song that will feature on the soundtrack of a movie of the dragon books, always assuming a movie is made.Presently, he is working on two new projects, both of which feature dragons to some extent.

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

Emma Chichester Clark

Emma Chichester Clark trained at the Chelsea College of Art and The Royal College of Art before becoming a full-time illustrator. She was awarded the Mother Goose Award in 1988 as the most promising newcomer to children's book illustration. She has since illustrated a number of picture books and collections for Orchard Books, Andersen Press, Pavilion and Methuen.For Orchard Emma illustrated The Orchard Book of Greek Myths in 1992 and in 1997 The Orchard Book of Greek Gods and Goddesses. Both books have been retold by award-winning writer Geraldine McCaughrean, who has retold a number of the Orchard Collections. Emma's lively illustrations perfectly match the magic of the stories which bring characters of Ancient Greece strikingly to life. Emma was also chosen to be one of eight artists to illustrate The Orchard Book of Opera Stories retold by Adèle Geras which was published last Autumn to much acclaim.In 1998 Emma has joined forces with major poet and playwright, Adrian Mitchell, to illustrate his retelling of Robin Hood in The Adventures of Robin Hood and Maid Marian published in June.Emma has also written and illustrated a number of her own books, including Tea with Aunt Augusta, Miss Bilberry's New House and Little Miss Muppet Counts to Ten. She also illustrated some collections written by Laura Cecil including A Thousand Yards of Sea (Methuen), and has recently illustrated Thumbelina (Pavilion) and Little Red Riding Hood (Macdonald Young Books). Emma lives in Fulham in South West London, and has featured in the Illustrators Hall of Fame in The Mail on Sunday with other illustrators including Quentin Blake, Michael Foreman, Shirley Hughes, Anthony Browne and Raymond Briggs.

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.

Fiona Roberton

Fiona Roberton was born in Oxford and studied art and design in London and New York.She has kept the wolf from the door for a number of years by working as a designer, but has since befriended the wolf, and has it to tea on Tuesdays. Sometimes, they go out.

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

Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard is a footballer, father and author of the 'Frankie's Magic Football' series!To date, Frank remains Chelsea Football Club's all-time leading goal scorer, where he was awarded three times Chelsea Player of the Year. In 2014 Frank was the vice captain on the England football squad at the World Cup in Brazil, and then went on to play for Manchester City in 2014 in the UK before signing with New York City FC to play as part of the Major League Soccer side, starting July 2015. Frank was awarded an OBE in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to football.Frank enjoys reading with his two daughters, and when they requested stories about football Frank decided to create his own characters and adventures to entertain them. These tales provided the inspiration for 'Frankie's Magic Football'. Frank is passionate about promoting child literacy and is an ambassador of the National Literacy Trust; he hopes to inspire both young girls and boys to read with the 'Frankie's Magic Football' series. "The idea for 'Frankie's Magic Football' came from reading bedtime stories to my daughters. Adventure stories are their favourite and I wanted to combine my love for football with something that I could read to them, and that they would love too. 'Frankie's Magic Football' reminds me of the stories that I used to like to read. Frankie's friends also remind me of the mates that I used to kick a football about with when I was young, as well as some of the players I've met during my career." - FRANK LAMPARD

Gitty Daneshvari

As a child Gitty Daneshvari talked and talked and talked. Whether yammering at her sister through a closed door or bombarding her parents with questions while they attempted to sleep, she absolutely refused to stop chattering until finally there was no one left to listen. In need of an outlet for her thoughts, Gitty began writing and she hasn't stopped since.Gitty is the author of the middle grade series SCHOOL OF FEAR, SCHOOL OF FEAR 2: CLASS IS NOT DISMISSED and SCHOOL OF FEAR 3: THE FINAL EXAM. She currently lives in New York City with her highly literate English bulldog Harriet. And yes she still talks too much.

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.