Fantastic Author Chris D’Lacey

On Monday the 29th April 2019 Year 7 and Year 8 students at Teignmouth Community School were treated to a visit by the fantastic author Chris D’Lacey.  He is well known nationally and internationally for his popular bestselling fantasy series “Last Dragon Chronicles”, but has written over 30 children’s fiction books. Luckily for us he now lives in Devon, and has been a good friend to our school, visiting and inspiring students over a number of years.

Chris talked about what first inspired him to write, and the journey that he has made since then.  Actually he did not particularly enjoy reading when he was young, but the chance talk with an enthusiastic young teacher set him on course to try classics like “Pride and Prejudice” and “The Hobbit”, which to his surprise he actually enjoyed. Despite his late interest in literature he was encouraged at school to take sciences and spent much of his earlier working life as a biology laboratory technician at Leicester University.  This was where, during breaks, he started writing at the age of 32 and got his first book published at the age of 39.  The positive message that he repeated to TCS students was that “Anyone can be a writer” however, he clearly demonstrated that to be a successful writer you need to have motivation, read as much as you can, and have dedication, talent and imagination…

He talked to students about what first inspired him to write, how he moved from completing a critically acclaimed animal rescue story about an injured pigeon “Fly Cherokee, Fly” to the fantasy genre, with the existence of dragons as the central thread and a pinch of “domestic drama”  and even “romance” thrown in as well! His most recent series “The Unicorne Files”, full of action-packed adventure starts with “A Dark Inheritance” (which is set locally at Berry Head near Brixham) and delves into mystery and the paranormal.

Chris was very generous with his time and answered a number of questions from students and staff after his talks were finished for each year group. Questions ranged from “How much money do you earn?”, “If you want to become an author how do you get an editor?” to “What are you writing at the moment?”  He also shared lunch time with library staff and some keen student readers, and library volunteers who are real fans of his work.  Chris D’Lacey is a brilliant story teller and a really engaging speaker who kept both students and staff amused by explaining how things that happen to him in real life then give him inspiration for his stories.  He certainly entertained and made a huge impact on students:

Ryan in Y8 wrote “I really enjoyed his stories” and Lauren “when describing his books he inspired me to read some”, Ella said “he was good and it did make me want to read his books”.  Chris’s books in the library have certainly been flying off the shelves and we now have a lot of reservations – particularly for the first books in each of his series.

And Chris said on Twitter A big thank you to the staff and students of Teignmouth Community School for making me feel so appreciated yesterday. It was a pleasure to come and talk to you again.”

We are now all looking forward to the publication of his next book – which is not going to be about dragons or fantasy at all but he promises will be set up on Exmoor about wild birds and three young people with different phobias!   Mrs Masterman, Librarian