About

Hi, I’m Dawn, writer and mum-of-two, living in Argyll, Scotland. I am a writer of children’s fiction and non-fiction, and fiction/non-fiction aimed at adults.

If you would like to contact me, you can email me: danelsonauthor@gmail.com

For answers to questions you may have for me, see below or email me your own questions and I’ll try my best to answer each and every one.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How long have you be writing for?

Forever. I’ve been writing down stories since I was a child. I still have some of little books I wrote and illustrated myself. I was always reading, drawing or writing as a child. I was always making little towers out of toilet rolls or houses out of shoeboxes. I loved it.

Why do you write?

Without wanting to sound corny, it’s because I have to. I have this absolute compulsion to do it. I have so many ideas mulling about my head, that I have to get them down and tell the stories. The only way I can describe it (and this might sound a bit mad) is that it’s like breathing to me…an absolute necessity.

Are you rich?

No. Unfortunately not. Like most writers, up until recently I had a day job: I used to work for the Health Service in Glasgow as a PR officer, which means I produce a public newspaper, work on the website and intranet, and produce things like leaflets and fliers as and when needed.

You worked, you’re a mum and you’ve got a house to run…when do you find time to write?

It’s not a question of finding time, it’s a question of making time. When I was working at Charing Cross in Glasgow, I joined the Mitchell Library and used their computers at lunchtime. I actually wrote a large part of DarkIsle at the Mitchell in 2006…writing down ideas and chapter plans in longhand during my lunch break as the excellent catering staff kept me filled up in tea and biscuits.

I’m lucky enough now that I don’t work, but get up at 6am Monday to Friday to write at least 1000 words. I’m not a magical person who finds it easy to sit down at the computer and write every day – some days are easier than others.

Where do you write?

We’re lucky enough to have a room in our house, which we call the ‘study’. It was originally a dining room, but when we moved in, we made it a place for books and writing. The study has my old oak desk that I bought from an antiques dealer at the Barras market in Glasgow.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

My getting published has not happened overnight. I have been writing and sending away books to agents and publishers for about 20 years. I have had more rejection letters than I care to remember.

My advice is:

  • Practice your craft – write every day if you can.
  • Keep an ideas book handy at all times – I have been jotting down ideas for years in my little books. It’s a great way of getting inspiration.
  • Read everything – it’s one way of improving your writing plus you might just find yourself coming up with new ideas for stories from it.
  • Be observant – I recently came up with the idea for a new story just from driving past an old gateway every day. You can get a story from any object, any person or any mad idea.
  • Keep going – it’s important you don’t get downhearted. If you have been sending chapters away to agents or publishers, don’t let every rejection letter get you down, although it’s hard not to! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given up writing “for good”, but then had to go back to it because I have this mad desire to do it.
  • If you can, attend creative writing classes to improve your writing. A few years ago, I signed up for two sessions of creative writing classes (evening) with Glasgow University and loved it! Ask at your local library if there are classes near you. There are courses for both children and adults available.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, we have  a lovely guinea pig called Sam and three dogs: Millie (Jack Russell cross), Casper (Yorkshire Terrier) and Bonya (our pug).

What’s your favourite colour?

Um…that’s a hard one. I love all colours. I think if I had to choose two it would be yellow and red because they are so cheerful. My favourite used to be purple, but it’s not now.

Who’s your favourite author?

If you were to ask me what my all-time favourite book was, I would be in real trouble because I have lots of ‘favourites’. Here is a list of some of the great books I loved as a child:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis – those books include The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and The Silver Chair. If you’re looking for books that are exciting and full of adventure, these are the books for you! They are fantastic.
  • What Katy Did and What Katy Did Next by Susan Coolidge – the stories of Katy Carr and her siblings. These are great. Can’t recommend them enough.
  • All the Mary Poppins books by P L Travers – so much better than the film!
  • All the Heidi books by Johanna Spyri – my mother put me on to these books and the What Katy Did books and I’ll be sharing them with my daughter, they are that good.
  • The Chronicles of Prydain books by Llloyd Alexander – includes The Black Cauldron. I read these during my First Year at Eastwood High School and couldn’t get enough of them. Fantastic adventure stories.
  • The Wishing Chair and The Faraway Tree books by Enid Blyton – marvellous for younger readers. I always wanted to be the children in the stories…going off to magical lands and meeting magical people.
  • Anything by Roald Dahl, although I particularly love The Witches.
  • 101 Dalmations by Dodi Smith. I also love her I Capture the Castle.
  • The Fox Busters by Dick King Smith – one of the first books I bought with my own pocket money!
  • Peter Pan by J M Barrie.
  • All the Beatrix Potter and AA Milne stories – I’m a huge Winnie the Pooh fan.
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. I love Toad, he’s so funny.
  • All the books by E Nesbitt, but I loved The Phoenix and the Carpet and The Enchanted Garden the best.
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster – a bizarre book, but very enjoyable.

I’m also a big fan of two more recent children’s writers: J K Rowling (I think her books are amazing) and Philip Pullman who wrote His Dark Materials trilogy (his books are really good).

For authors of adult books, I love Joanne Harris, Terry Pratchett, Daphne Du Maurier, Dickens, Sir Walter Scott, the Brontes, Jane Austen and Janet Evanovich…to name a few.

Do you plan to write more children’s books?

Yes, I’ve got loads of ideas…I just haven’t had the time to write them all down yet!

Are you writing books for adults too?

Yes, I’m in the process of writing the second in a series of romantic adventure books plus I have another two books on the back burner.

What are your hobbies?

I love crafting. That is, I love to knit, sew, embroider, cut out, stick, glue and anything else creative I can get my hands on. I read a select few excellent craft blogs on a regular basis. I’ll probably talk about these in my blog.

I’m also into cooking, particularly baking, and have been honing my breadmaking skills over the past year – basically because my first few attempts at the humble loaf ended in a stodgy lump that even the garden birds wouldn’t eat! I’ve managed to make edible bread over the past few months, so must be doing something right!!

I love films and television. I love American detective shows and anything about pirates.

I love reading – it’s my favourite past-time. I have too many favourite books to list here, but I will read anything and everything.

 

 

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