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Patron Of Reading

 

When I visit schools and libraries I encourage everyone to ask me anything they like... Here are just a few of the questions that I get asked a lot... If you'd like to ask anything then please email me author@damianharvey.co.uk and I will reply to you as soon as I can...

1. Where do you get your ideas?

Ideas are strange things and it isn't always easy to say exactly where they come from. They do come come from your brain (or your imagination) of course, but the questrion is... How do they get there?

Ideas come to me from things I read, things I see, things I hear... even things I smell... as well as other places.

Some ideas are just little pieces of conversation that a character might be having - it might be the image of a character or a scene that appears in my head...

Sometimes ideas come from me thinking What if???

At other times I help ideas along by thinking of a character and giving them a problem...

2. Does anyone help you with your writing?

Writing is quite a solitary job and it's hard for anyone else to help. I'm lucky that my lovely wife, Vicky, is able to read through what I've written and offer good advice on what she thinks of it. I also have editors that offer feedback and suggestions on how to improve my work. Editors can be a bit like teachers - they say things like "I love your story but do you think you could make the ending more exciting...

Sometimes Boofle likes to help too - as you can see...

Sadly not but I'm working on it. There aren't many rich children's authors. People like J.K.Rowling are a exception, but all of the authors I know love what they do and work very hard to make a living.

3. Are you rich?

4. Where do you live?

We live in Flintshire, North Wales... There's lots of castles around here, and a really cool bridge.?

5. How many books have you written?

So far I've written about 70 books but I'm busy writing more... take a look at my diary for up to date news about what I'm working on and what I'm doing...

6. Who is your favourite author

This is a difficult question to answer as there are so many authors that I like, however, I think Terry Pratchet is probably my favourite. He's famous for writing books about the Discworld but he's written books for younger readers too. Perhaps you've read 'Johnny and the Bomb' or 'Maurice And His Educated Rodents'

7. What books did you like when you were younger

When I was very little my Mum used to read lots of things to me. We would visit the library every week or two and come home with a big pile of books. I loved hearing stories about Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends.

Here are pictures of some of the first books that I had on my shelf at home.

I loved the old stories about Noddy - especially this one where he gets an aeroplane... Exciting stuff eh!

At school we had a book shop - all Puffin Books I think. The first book I ever bought with my own money was Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. You've probably got this in your school library though it might have a different cover to the one I have.

I loved comics like The Beano, Dandy, Topper and Beezer... They were lots of fuun to read and always funny. I looked forward to the Summer Holidays because even if we weren't going away on holiday I knew I would be able to get the Summer Special Comics... FANTASTIC!!!

Comics like Valiant and 2000AD with stories of Judge Dread and (on this Valiant Annual) Kelly's Eye were a real favourite with me. I couldn't get enough of them.

As I got older I loved reading war stories and stories about other worlds. This book about the Trigan Empire mixed anient Greece with Outer Space and Aliens. I wish I still had this book now but I swapped it with someone for something else. I can't remember what though.

Pocket sized comic books were very popular when I was at school. You can still buy Commando comic books now (have a look in WH Smith). They are always have exciting war stories. My favourites were the Starblazer Comic Books... action and adventure in outer space.

As well as action and adventure, I loved funny books... especially these books about Charlie Brown and Snoopy... Sometimes I would laugh so much that I almost cried. Shhhh! don't tell anyone though.

 

You've probably noticed that I used to read a lot of comic books. It doesn't really matter what you read as long as you read and have fun doing it. Sometimes I meet people that say they don't like reading becauuse it's boring... That's just becasue they haven't found the thing that interests them yet... once you find it - you will be hooked for life.

As I got older I started reading bigger, longer books. Sometimes I would buy brand new books... sometimes I would buy cheap second hand books... I always borrowed books from the library (you should too... it's free to join and free to borrow books). I also read all the books that my Dad had on his bookshelf. Westerns, Science Fiction and adventure books. Here's some of my favourites.

8. What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?

If you want to be a writer then you need to know how words work together. The best way to learn this is by reading lots of different books and by writing. Don't worry if you do not know how things in your story start or end... just write what you know. This might be just a small scene or a little piece of dialogue but you will find that as you write it, more will pop into your head.

A lot of people say they would like to write a book but they never get round to doing it. This is because they don't do the single most important thing... They don't actually WRITE... If you want to write you have to write - it's no good sitting there watching tv or playing games.

After you have written something - read it out loud. You don't have to actually read it to anyone else, but reading it out loud helps you hear how it sounds. It helps you hear if you have put full stops and commas in the right place. It helps you hear whether it makes sense.

9. Do you know any other writers or famous people?

Being a writer I spend a lot of my time working on my own but it's great getting out from behind my laptop to visit schools and libraries where I get chance to meet lots of keen young readers and writers.

I've got lots of friends that write books for children too and I love being able to meet up with them from time to time or email them if I get stuck on something. Sometimes I bump into other writers when I go to schools and libraries too and that's always a nice surprise.

10. What is your favourite food?

There is lots of food that we like... we love pasta and pizza... yum. But here are some pictures to show you what goes into one of our favourite meals...

For a starter we quite like Stuffed Peppers with a balsamic glaze... delicious

One of our favourite main courses is made up from Shiitake and Oyster Mushrooms with Cherry Tomatoes and Pork with Black Pepper... it's delicious. We add a bit of grated parmesan cheese and balsamic glaze to finish it off...

As a little extra we like to have some yummy Olive Bread and some Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Balsamic Vinegar as a dip...

11. What does your wife, Vicky do?

Vicky works for Flintshire Library Service - as well as cataloguing new books she helps library visitiors find the books or the information they are looking for, she gives talks to school groups about Buckley Pottery and about the library, she also leads Rhymetime and Storytelling sessions with Mums and toddlers - and lots more.

11. Will you come and visit our school?

I visit schools and libraries all over Great Britain - and abroad if you want me to. If you are interested in having me come to your school you can email me or give me a call (if you are a teacher)... If you are a pupil at school, please ask your teacher to get in touch with me.