For a couple of years now I haven’t really been doing school visits, just the odd one here and there. Without going into too much detail, I’ve been helping my wife, Jay, through a series of complex foot operations, which has required me to be at home a lot. To compound matters, Jay’s elderly mum has not been well. So with Jay out of action, I’ve effectively been caring for the pair of them. That situation has now resolved itself, and I’m ready to do some events again.
I’ve visited hundreds of schools, libraries and festivals over the past twenty-five years. I talk a lot about dragons, of course. But mainly I tell the stories behind the books. And sometimes I talk about the writing process as well. That’s my thing: talking. I’m not into workshops, I’m afraid. I’m simply not very good at it. Many authors do them extremely well. And if workshops or planned writing activities are what you’re after, then it’s best to swerve me and look elsewhere. But if you want someone who can engage the kids, and tell them daft anecdotes, and make them laugh, then drop me a line and we’ll see what we can do.
I’m now in my mid-sixties. I don’t plan to haul myself around the country with quite as much vigour as I used to. A hundred visits a year was not uncommon for me back in the day, when I was based in Leicester. I’m in south Devon now, which is not so easy to work your way out of. But if invited, I will travel. Just bear in mind the likely costs involved.
I’m especially keen to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of The Fire Within, the first book of The Last Dragon Chronicles. TFW has sold over a million copies worldwide and is far and away my most successful book. It’s a great book for KS2 children, and often encourages them to read the whole series of seven. And it’s not all about dragons. If you look at my website www.icefire.co.uk you can read a little about how the book came about. It’s quite an interesting piece of serendipity. The great thing about The Last Dragon Chronicles is that they bridge the gap between KS2 and the lower end of KS3. I’ll happily talk to Year 7s about them. And other series are available! My Erth Dragons books look at dragon mythology through dragon eyes (which was a challenge). And if you like something a bit weird and chilling, there is my “X-Files for kids’ series”, The UNICORNE Files (nowt to do with unicorns, sorry).
So, there you have it. I’m available and ready to answer enquiries. You can contact me at this address: email@example.com or via Twitter if you prefer @chrisdlacey. Look forward to hearing from you. Hrrr!
Anyone reading this will surely know that the week just gone was centred around World Book Day, last Thursday. I am firmly of the belief that every children’s author should be in a school somewhere on WBD. And yet I was at home, clearing out my under stairs cupboards, ready to have a smart meter fitted to my fuel supply. How did this strange situation come about?
Well, because of the popularity of my dragon books, I am often contacted way in advance for any given WBD. And that was the case this year – or so I thought. I was due to visit a school in the suburbs of London, a trip that required an overnight stay. I’m never too keen to do overnighters during World Book Week, especially if the journey is long, because the travel time can take out a day or an afternoon when I might be able to visit another school. But I’m hopeless at saying no to a request. So I accepted and made my plans accordingly. However, a short time before the big day I was in touch with the school again and discovered, to my dismay, that they’d confused the dates. They were expecting me on the Friday, not the Thursday. By then, I couldn’t switch because I was committed to other things on the Friday. So that left me free on WBD and the day before, which I’d left clear for the travelling. Grrr.
Now in fairness I did have time to put out a message on social media saying I was available if anyone would like to book me. But life and the man from my energy provider quickly conspired to get in the way. So I decided to stay under the radar that week and just do ‘ordinary’ stuff. As it happened, I did put in a lovely visit to a school in Warminster on the Monday, a place famous for its sightings of alien spacecraft. Sadly, there no bright lights in the sky as I journeyed up the A303, but I had a lot of fun at the school and felt I’d thrown my hat into the WBD ring, albeit briefly.
On the Tuesday, I consoled myself by buying a guitar. I love guitars and dare not visit music shops too often lest I come out with something shiny and expensive. But this was a deliberate trip. I’ve long been after a good semi-acoustic guitar. So I went and bought myself a very reasonably priced Epiphone Casino – a model long associated with The Beatles (John Lennon famously played one on the top of the Apple building many moons ago). It’s a beautiful instrument and I can’t wait to do a bit of recording with it. And not only did I get the guitar, I also half-invested in a small PA system for Planet Uke, the ukulele duo I play in. What this means is I now need to go out and do some school visits to pay for all this. My contact details are elsewhere on the blog!
And the smart meter? After all that, it didn’t happen. The engineer turned up, but couldn’t get into the cupboard (too many wizards in there or something). So no smart meter for me at the moment. Strange week. Roll on next year…
I have to say it’s been a long time coming (nothing moves fast in d’Lacey world), but I’ve finally had the chance to set up this blog, which I hope any fans or followers of mine will come to enjoy. It still needs a lot of prettying around the edges, but at least we’re up and running.
For some while now, I’ve wanted to have a more … holistic blog. One that covers all my creative interests, rather than just my books. Don’t get me wrong, the books are still likely to take centre stage. After all, that’s probably what drew you here in the first place. But this will be a platform where I will freely comment about all my work, past and present, not just the The Last Dragon Chronicles or Erth Dragons, for instance. When the mood takes me, I might say something about the publishing industry or the way I write or someone else’s books. Equally, I might start spouting about songs or guitars or, gulp, ukuleles. I might even post a short story or two up here. Nothing is off limits, really.
But I have to kick off by writing a few words about THE NEW AGE, the final book of my Erth Dragons series. This book was published in the UK in early 2018, bringing to an end my eighteen years of adventures with dragons. Due to contractual reasons, my American publishing schedule was approximately a year behind the UK, which means that THE NEW AGE is about to hit US book stores any day now – on February 26th in fact. It’s a beautiful looking book, with a striking violet cover. I’ve made no secret of the fact that it’s my favourite of the three. It has a few links to The Last Dragon Chronicles, but essentially it’s all about the trials and tribulations of the Wearle from book one of the series. It’s not a perfect book by any means. But in places I think it demonstrates some of the best storytelling I’ve ever put together. If you like dragons, do have a read of it.
February 26th won’t be quite the end, because the US paperback of NEW AGE will itself appear in another year or so. So now I have to look to the future, one almost certainly devoid of dragons. I wouldn’t say I’m entirely done with the scaly beasts, but I have no plans to produce another major series. Someone asked me the other day if I would ever do the ‘pink’ cover of TLDC. This is a reference to me jokingly saying, some time ago, that I couldn’t write an eighth book of the Chronicles because we’d run out of colours for the covers! Then someone pointed out that we hadn’t used pink. Yeah. Right. Pink dragons? Not in my universe. White would be better. I tried to persuade my publisher once to run with a white cover. They said no. So no pink book. Chances are if I ever go back to 42 Wayward Crescent, it will be right here – for free. So keep checking in, because you never know. Go read THE NEW AGE! Hrrr!