Related to: 'The Astonishing Colour of After'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

Charlie Fletcher

Charlie Fletcher has written numerous screenplays, and is the author of the critically acclaimed Stoneheart trilogy. Here he talks to Graham Marks about the story so far, the differences between writing for screen and page, America, literary mash-ups, and of course his latest novel, Far Rockaway.

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: and

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.

Chris Colfer

Chris Colfer is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and a Golden Globe-winning actor. He was honored as a member of the TIME 100, Time magazine's annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world, and his books include Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal, the books of the Land of Stories series: The Wishing Spell, The Enchantress Returns, A Grimm Warning and Beyond the Kingdoms, and the companion books The Mother Goose Diaries, Queen Red Riding Hood's Guide to Royalty, The Land of Stories: A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales and The Curvy Tree.

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

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

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.

Honor Head

After a few false starts with a model agency and an accountant's, Honor Head's career as a children's writer and editor began when she joined a small publisher producing comics featuring children's television characters. The light bulb clicked on - Honor discovered she loved editing and writing for children - and has been burning brightly ever since. She has now published over 100 books for children on subjects as diverse as kitten care, famous outlaws, ghastly ghosts and totally awesome trucks as well as creating pop-ups, pull-outs and sticker books, and has edited many, many more. Honor now lives beside the seaside in Devon where she has fun helping out at the local museums organising family and school activities - a great way to meet her readers! On sunny days she heads for her favourite seaside café to eat cheese toasties and watch the dogs playing on the beach

Jane Ray

Jane Ray's exquisite artwork has gained acclaim both in the UK and internationally, and she regularly shows her work at galleries and exhibitions. Jane won the Smarties Prize with The Story of Creation; The Story of Christmas was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award; and A Balloon for Grandad was shortlisted for the Mother Goose Award. Jane's books for Orchard include the contemporary fairy tale The Apple-Pip Princess, the heartwarming The Dolls' House Fairy and the fabulously festive The Twelve Days of Christmas. She is also the illustrator of Heartsong, written by Kevin Crossley-Holland. Jane lives in London.

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

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.

Liz Kessler

Liz Kessler studied English at Loughborough University, has worked as a teacher and a journalist and has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University. After taking a year off to travel around Europe in a camper van, Liz now lives in Cornwall.Find out more at, follow her on Twitter @lizkesslerbooks and like her on Facebook at

Louise Spilsbury

Louise Spilsbury is a prolific children's book author. She has written titles on almost every subject, from science and geography through to world affairs, social issues, art, history, and literacy. Louise is married to the author Richard Spilsbury and has two children. She lives and works in Devon.

Natacha Ledwidge

Natacha Ledwidge has always loved drawing and painting. She is also fascinated by the Great Mysteries of Life and says 'Mermaids, angels, unicorns and fairies have always attracted me so when I was asked to illustrate Emily Windsnap I was thrilled!' Natacha has illustrated many books for adults and children. Natacha is married to the film cameraman Angus Hudson and has two children - Georgia, her daughter, is at Camberwell Art College and Oscar, her son, is at school but in his spare time makes films about skateboarding.

Neal Layton

Neal is an award-winning illustrator and author of children's books. He has worked on more than 80 titles to date, working with authors such Cressida Cowell and Michael Rosen, and won several prizes including a Gold Award in the Nestle Children's Book Prize for 'That Rabbit belongs to Emily Brown'. His books have also been shortlisted for the Red House Book Awards, the Blue Peter Book Awards, the Booktrust Early Years Award, Funfzig Jahre Deutcher Jugendliteraturpreis and New York Public Library's annual list of best Children's Books.He also writes his own books, 'The Invincible Tony Spears' and the bestselling 'Mammoth Academy' Series. His books are currently in print in more than 16 languages worldwide. He lives in Portsmouth with his wife and two daughters.

Olivia Chase

Olivia Chase is the pseudonym for Rosie Best. A writer, editor, nerd and procrastinator, Rosie has three cats called Midnight, Misty and Imp, and loves singing, video games and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She's written lots of fiction for younger readers, as well as the YA novels, Skulk, Demon Hunters: Trinity and Demon Hunters: Ascension. You can find her on Twitter: @rosiejbest


Pat-a-Cake takes you and your child on a magical journey. From sharing the very first baby book to watching your little one read all by themselves. The adventure begins here . . .

Piers Torday

Piers Torday began his career in theatre and then television as a producer and writer. His bestselling first book for children, The Last Wild, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal as well as numerous other awards. His second book, The Dark Wild, won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. His most recent book for children, There May Be A Castle, was published in October 2016 to critical acclaim and was a Children's Book of the Year for The Times. The son of the late Paul Torday (author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) Piers recently completed his father's final unfinished novel, The Death of an Owl. He also adapted John Masefield's classic The Box of Delights for stage in 2017. In regular demand as a speaker at schools and festivals, Piers is also a reading helper with Beanstalk, a former judge on the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, a Patron of Reading at Heathmere School and a trustee of the Pleasance Theatre. Born in Northumberland, Piers now lives in London with his husband and their dog Huxley.

Rosie Banks

Rosie Banks is the author of brilliant series Secret Princesses and Secret Kingdom. You can find out all about Secret Princesses and much more at the series website: