Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Interview With Chris D'Lacey

After meeting Chris d'Lacey when I was doing my T.A course in 2010, I read some of his The Last Dragon Chronicles novels, my favourite is Icefire.

Angelo Rinaldi does the cover artwork for these and all of Chris d’Lacey’s books.

1) Where are you from?
Leicester, England, though I was born in Malta

2) When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing at the age of 32 as a sidestep from writing songs.  It was just a hobby that grew into a career.

3) Did you always want to be an author?
No. I wanted to be a footballer or a pop star

4) How long each day/week do you dedicate to writing?
When I'm working properly on a book, about 6 hours per day.  But it varies

5) How long does it usually take to write just one book?
About 9 months, including editing

6) Do you write your books on paper first or start straight on the computer?
I started out on paper but switched to the computer because it was easier to correct errors

7) What do you do when you’re not writing?
I work on my house.  I moved to Devon last year.  Decorating is taking up a lot of my time.

8) In your spare time what do you like to read?
I still don't read an awful lot, but if I do it's children's fiction. I like Patrick Ness, David Almond and Philip Reeve

9) And what are you reading at the moment?
'The Fault in our Stars' by John Green

10) If you could work with any author, who would it be and why?
Writing is a solitary business.  I would find it very hard to collaborate on a book, though I did it years ago with Linda Newbery.  The book was called 'From E To You' and was about two teenagers emailing one another.

11) When you were younger who were your favourite author?
I liked the Jennings books by Anthony Buckeridge, all the Molesworth series by Geoffrey Willans, the Paddington Bear books by Michael Bond, Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy, and everything by Tolkien.

12) Writing wise what is your biggest accomplishment?
Being highly commended for the Carnegie Medal with 'Fly, Cherokee, Fly'.

13) What inspire’s you to write your novel Fly Cherokee fly?
It's based on the true story of me finding an injured pigeon and nursing him back to health

14) What Inspired you to write The Dragons of Wayward Crescent?
The DOWC books were simply an offshoot of the novels.  The plan at first was to write a prequel to The Fire Within, but I couldn't get a prequel to work.  Then I had what I thought was the bright idea of doing a series of little books that would collectively form a prequel to TFW.  Unfortunately, they didn't sell very well and my publisher abandoned the project after four books, which was annoying.

15) And what inspired you to write the The Last Dragon Chronicles?
I bought a dragon at a craft fair one day and thought it would be a nice idea to have a character who made dragons.  The rest is history.

16) Are you working on anything new at the moment if so can you tell us anything about it?
I'm working on two ideas, each of which would make a three book series.  One of them is heavily dragon based, the other is more domestic but with a hint of dragons.  That's as much as I can tell you right now.

17) If you could do it over again, is there anything you would change in any of your books?
The only book I would ever rewrite would be the first one I published, 'A Hole at the Pole'.  It was a young reader and my then editor didn't like the ending - so she wrote one herself, which was bland and completely out of step with my style.  I let it go because I knew no better at the time.  It would be different now!  Although the dragon novels are often criticised for being too complex, I wouldn't change a word.  I wrote them 'organically' i.e. as they came to me, and that's part of what makes them so special, I think

18) Out of all your books, which is your favourite character and why?
Oh, gosh, it's impossible to pick one.  I like nearly all of them for different reasons.  I've always thought Zanna was a great character, though Gwilanna was more fun to write.  Bergstrom always intrigued me.  Of the animals, I love Gadzooks and Gretel and Avrel the polar bear, but if you really pinned me down I'd have to choose Bonnington the cat.  He's based on a beautiful daft cat I used to have.

19) When writing about something you don't know much about where do you get your information?
Books, the TV and the Internet.  Or I just make stuff up!

20) For you what is the easiest part of the book to write?
Usually the beginning, though if a book's going well the end tends to come in a rush.  I wrote the last 10,000 words of The Fire Ascending in three days, which is very quick for me.

21) ...And the hardest?
Hardest?  There's usually a point about three quarters of the way through where you have to start resolving the main problems.  That can be tricky if the plot's a bit fluffy.

22) How do you choose the names for your books and the characters?
I don't, really.  Names just come to me as I picture the characters in my head.  It was a deliberate tease to have all the dragon names beginning with 'G'.  I knew fans would write to me endlessly about it, which they did.

23) Have you ever taken out a character or changed a character in a book before publishing and then regretted it?
No. Never. 

24) What advice would you give to someone who "ran out of creativity" while writing? And 25) What do you do when you get writers block?
Put the story away for a while and work on something else.  When you come back to it fresh, hopefully new ideas will surface.  If you haven't time for that, back up a way until you reach a point where you're sure everything is right, then take off from there in a slightly different direction.

26) Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks for reading the books! I hope you'll get as much enjoyment from the new stuff when it comes as you did from The Last Dragon Chronicles.  Oh, and Gadzooks says hrrr!

Thank you for your time Chris I really appreciate it, and congratulations on being highly commended for the Carnegie Medal for Fly, Cherokee, Fly

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