5 Bestselling Children’s Authors

What do Chris d’Lacey, Adele Geras, Jean Ure, David Bedford and Katherine Roberts have in common?

A few things.

One of them is that they write books for children. Another is that the books they write have been so well received that these five are among some of the best-known children’s authors currently working in the United Kingdom.

In the extracts below, the five authors discuss how they started writing:

Chris d’Lacey, author of Fire Star.

When I was 32. I’d always had a ‘creative streak’ but it had always been expressed through songwriting. In my early thirties I decided I wanted to try something different and stories seemed the most logical option. I found it incredibly difficult at first, but stuck at it and eventually, after a few years, I had a short story published in a small press magazine.

Adele Geras, author of Troy.

I came to writing by accident. I went in for a story competition in 1973 and enjoyed writing my piece so much that I decided to try and write some more … [The piece] was a ghost story called “Rose” and it went on to be included in a collection of short stories called Apricots at Midnight, still available from Barn Owl books.

Jean Ure, author of Gone Missing.

I had my first book published while I was still at school and immediately went rushing into the world declaring that I was an author! Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that the proceeds from one book were not enough to live on, and that while I might indeed be an author I needed to earn money just like all those other people who weren’t authors. Over the next couple of years I hopped like a flea from job to job, rarely staying anywhere longer than a month as they were all so boring. At the same time as hopping like a flea, I was trying to write and sell more books, only nobody seemed to want them, which was rather depressing. In the end I decided that I would go to drama school. I thought it would be fun — which it was. I spent three very happy years there, wrote another book (and had it published) and met my future husband. He became an actor, I become a writer. I have been writing ever since.

David Bedford, author of Shaggy Dog and the Terrible Itch.

When I first became an avid reader, around the age of 16, I read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and decided to have a go myself… much later, while I was a scientist at Stanford University in the U.S., I began writing seriously, with the idea of making a career out of it.

Katherine Roberts, author of The Cleopatra Curse.

You don’t decide to be a writer. Either you are or you aren’t. I take “writer” to mean “story teller”, a person born with a vivid imagination. Writing, telling or singing stories will be part of their life, whether or not they make any money from doing it. The non-writer, on the other hand, will often be at a loss for something to write and find writing hard work. They might manage to write a successful book but they will only be doing it for money (or some other outside purpose), not for the pure joy of telling the story.

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