Sunday, 19 February 2012

This week's word is: LETTERS

Hello, dragon fans. Just for a change this week, we thought we'd let you look at the other side of the author's life, which is to deal with correspondence.  As many blog followers will know, it's easy to contact our hero by mailing him through the ICEFIRE website.  He still deals with around 100 emails a week from fans, and answers them as soon as he possibly can.  On top of this, he gets a stream of mail through the regular post (passed on by his publishers) - particularly after a school visit.  We thought we'd share some of the comments from a recent visit, just to give you an idea of how children and older students respond to his talks.  Here goes...

Strangely, authors are often perceived as being rather boring individuals.  Maybe it's because they spend so much time alone talking to clay dragons.  Who knows?  Children at one school were once asked by their teacher to write short descriptions of what the author would be like before and after a visit.  The before list contained, "a yawn", "will probably wear a suit" and "not understand us".  The after list went something like, "amazing", "great storyteller", "funny", "couldn't believe he lived on an estate like ours" and "completely barmy!"  This kind of thing is often borne out in the letters.  One young student recently wrote: "When writers or poets come to our school they often bore us with their ways of writing a 1000 page novel, or put us to sleep with their lack of a personality, so of course when we were told that a writer was here to talk to us I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised with your refreshing take on writing and reading and couldn't stop laughing at your comical anecdotes. I feel now that when we are told to write a story it won't seem so much like a struggle to pick up my pen."  Hrrr!  This kind of response makes the author very happy. And so does this: "Your talk really elated me, so that night I actually rummaged around my house and eventually found all my casual stories."  This is what The Last Dragon Chronicles is all about: inspiring people to find their creative spark. While it's true that David Rain whizzes through time and across universes doing battle with evil forces and misguided sibyls, he's always seeking inspiration through, erm, me (ahem).  Arthur's use of Gawain's claw, me scribbling on my notepad, the whole idea of imagineering are really just facets of a greater concept: that through creativity we find inner harmony - the fire within - or as another student put it: "You showed me that anyone can write if you let 'the writing take over'. Also you showed me that something simple can explode into something that will change your life and eventually you will notice that the explosion brought peace and excitement." Very true. Until next time.  Happy reading. Hrrr!

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