M@xThis editions real live author is... Lucy Daniels!

Here's what Lucy had to say...
Animal Ark

M@x Why did you want to become a writer?
I didn’t exactly set out to become a writer – I tried other things first, like teaching – but then I found
that it was something I could do! I’ve always loved making up stories and it’s wonderful that I can
make a living out of sharing them with other people.

M@x What kind of books do you write?
I write books for children from ages 4 to 14, starting with LITTLE ANIMAL ARK and progressing up to ANIMAL ARK, DOLPHIN DIARIES and SAFARI SUMMER. The common theme for all my books is animals! I don’t write the stories from the animals’ point of view; instead we follow the adventures of young characters (mostly Mandy Hope and her best friend James Hunter) as they help animals that are sick or in peril.

M@x Where do you get your ideas from for your books?
With the ANIMAL ARK books, I usually begin with the title! All the titles in this series are alliterative, which means an initial letter is repeated at least once, such as KITTENS IN THE KITCHEN or DOG AT THE DOOR. So I think of which animal I’d like to write about next, then come up with a title that fits its name (the last was SIAMESE IN THE SUN), and from that I work out a story. For example, a graceful Siamese cat that loves sleeping in the sun…especially in the window of an antiques shop run by its owner…but sometimes the sun can be dangerous and start fires if it shines through glass…so what would happen to the beautiful Siamese cat if the shop caught fire?

M@x What is a typical day for you?
I try to work all day, five days a week, because the only way to get a book written is to sit down and write it! But because I work at home, I can stop in the middle of the day to take my dog for a walk, which is lovely.

M@x Do you have a favourite place where you work on your books?
I’m very fussy about the sort of desk and chair I have, so my study is really the only place where I feel comfortable to write. I’d love to be able to write on the beach with my laptop on my knees but I just can’t!

M@x Which of your own books do you like best and why?
I’m very proud of the SAFARI SUMMER series, which features a fourteen-year-old boy called Jake who moves to Africa with his mum and new stepdad to live on a game reserve. It was great fun learning about new animals and coming up with dramatic storylines featuring situations that were a little more dangerous than anything Mandy and James encounter in ANIMAL ARK.

M@x Who was your favourite author when you were a child?
I read all the Enid Blyton books and also books about ponies by the Pullein-Thompson sisters. I also loved the James Herriot series, about a vet working in Yorkshire. Hmmmm, I wonder if that’s why I love Mandy so much?!

M@x Are you working on any new material now?
I’m always coming up with new ideas, luckily, so I don’t imagine I’ll stop writing for a long time yet.

M@x What advice would you give to would-be authors?
Read! And then read some more! I read everything when I was growing up, from novels to newspapers to the back of cereal packets. It’s by far the best way to discover what sort of writing you like, and what sort you don’t. It’s always the only way to learn the craft of writing well, by figuring out why you like some writers more than others. And then write as much as you can, from articles for the school magazine to scientific reports to stories. Every sort of writing is good practice if you want to be an author. Finally, don’t make becoming an author your only ambition. It’s tough and lonely and often very frustrating, so I recommend having other jobs, at least to start with, which will give you even more to write about. You can’t write about life if you haven’t lived! Good luck!

Thank you for inviting me to take part in your website. I’ve loved answering the questions. Keep reading!

Very best wishes

Lucy x