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Dan Smith - Author

About the Author

Growing up, Dan led three lives. In one he survived the day-to-day humdrum of boarding school, while in another he travelled the world, finding adventure in the padi-fields of Asia and the jungles of Brazil. But the third life he lived in a world of his own, making up stories . . . which is where some people say he still lives most of the time!

Now settled in Newcastle with his wife and two children, Dan writes stories to share with both adults and children – and with an interest in World War 2, a great-aunt who was a flak-gunner, and a grandfather who was an army captain during the war, is it any wonder that his first book for children is set during those uncertain days of 1941?

A Q+A with Dan

You have books published for adults and children. Do you find it easier or harder to write for children? I don’t think I find it easier or harder. Of course there are differences in the way I write for adults and children, but those differences aren’t very big. I approach stories as stories whoever I write them for. My adult books often have children in them, and my children’s books often have adults in them, so I just change the focus of who tells the story – the adults or the children.

How did you get your big break? It’s difficult to say whether I’ve had a big break or not. I think I’ve had a series of small breaks – which makes me sound like I should be in hospital. My first break, though, was finding a great agent who loves my writing. I spent a lot of time sending letters and sample chapters to different agents until I found just the right one. She always gives me good but brutally honest advice about my books, which is sometimes hard to listen to, but helps me get better and better at telling stories.

Any advice for budding authors? Read, read, read. And then read some more! I really believe that the more a person reads, the better they will understand how stories and characters work. The other important thing is to write. It might sound obvious, but if you sit about, waiting for inspiration and dreaming about being an author, then you’ll never be an author. Writing makes you an author so … get writing!

Where is your favourite place to write? I sit on a small sofa in the corner of the sitting room. It’s not very glamorous but it’s comfortable and it’s the brightest, warmest room in the house. I put my laptop on a cushion and perch it on my knees and, you know what? It’s just about the best place in the world.

Have you ever wanted to do anything other than write? When I was very young I wanted to be a judge. I have no idea why. Then I wanted to be a vet until I saw Star Wars at the ripe old age of seven. After that I knew what I wanted to be. I wanted to be Han Solo. I was never any of those things, though, and by the time I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Nothing else would have been good enough. Apart from, perhaps, being Han Solo.

You can only read three books for the rest of your life, what would they be? Well, if you asked me this on another day I might give you a completely different answer but today I’m going to say Lord of The Flies by William Golding because it’s a brilliant story about children who find themselves in a terrifying situation without any adults to help them, The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway because it’s the classic tale of man versus nature, and The Go-Between by LP Hartley because it’s a summery, dreamy tale about a shy child who is thrown into an adult world that he struggles to understand.

Do you visit your local library? Really, I like to own books, because they’re such lovely objects to hold and look at, but, yes, I do visit my local library. I find the library especially helpful when I’m researching a book of my own and I’m looking for information about something in particular. Also, both of my children love to borrow books and they take part in the Summer Reading Challenge every year.

Featured books by Dan Smith

Other books by Dan Smith

The State of the World Atlas

The State of the World Atlas

Author: Dan Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/01/2018

Over 50 full-colour world maps and graphics break down hardcore statistics to provide a compelling analysis of all the political, social, economic and ecological nightmares that keep us awake at night. * The world's car population has grown five times as fast as the human population over the last 50 years. * Wal-Mart's sales revenue exceeds the GDP of 150 countries. * Climate change may put 2.7 billion at risk of armed conflict. * Germany generates more tourists than anywhere else. * Americans use 160 times more water than people in Rwanda. If you want to get behind the headlines and understand the world - from urbanization to globalization, terrorism to tourism, military spending to human rights - The State of the World Atlas is unmatched.

Below Zero

Below Zero

Author: Dan Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/01/2018

When Zak's plane crash-lands on Outpost Zero, a small Antarctic research base in one of the most isolated places on Earth, he discovers a cold, dark nightmare. The power's out and the people who live there have disappeared. Worse, as he searches for answers, bizarre visions suggest a link to something else - deep beneath the ice - which only he can understand .

Shut Down - Du hast nur 24 Stunden

Shut Down - Du hast nur 24 Stunden

Author: Dan Smith Illustrator: 0 Format: eBook Release Date: 20/10/2016

Eine Insel, von der niemand wei. Ein Virus, das den Tod bringt. Und ein Junge, der das Schlimmste verhindern will. Als der 13-jhrige Ash begreift, was vor sich geht, bleiben ihm gerade mal 24 Stunden. In der Zeit muss er seinen Verfolgern entkommen, das Gegengift besorgen und ein skrupelloses Forscherteam aufhalten. Keine leichte Aufgabe.Denn dabei steht nicht nur sein Leben auf dem Spiel

Boy X

Boy X

Author: Dan Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/02/2016

Kidnapped and drugged, Ash wakes up on a remote tropical island. His mum - a genetic scientist - has been imprisoned and infected with a deadly virus. Where is he, and what's he doing there? He sets out to cross the jungle to find out and rescue his mother. Soon he realises he's quicker and sharper than before. But there's something else ... why are the animals watching him, and how can he use the jungle to his advantage?

The State of the Middle East Atlas Regional Change and Global Impact

The State of the Middle East Atlas Regional Change and Global Impact

Author: Dan Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/11/2015

An essential tool for understanding the Middle East and its pivotal role in global politics, this book lays bare the complexity of the region - its emergence from fallen empires, the shaping of its current contours by oil and outside intervention, the wave of change that broke in 2011, and the violence that has swept the region since. With his customarily acute analysis, Dan Smith, author of The State of the World Atlas,uncovers the web of fault-lines that underlies the Middle East. Using maps and graphics, he demonstrates why recent events have occurred and why they have an impact on us all. This atlas explores and lays bare the complexity of the region, looking at how it emerged out of the history of fallen empires, how oil and outside intervention have shaped its current contours, where it stood as the wave of change broke in 2011, and the impact of violent conflict throughout. It uses maps, graphics, chronologies and analysis to offer a fair and tough-minded look at what lies behind a moment of change and hope.

The Darkest Heart

The Darkest Heart

Author: Dan Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/07/2015

'There were times I felt I would always be death's passenger. It moved one step ahead of me wherever I went, letting its shadow fall across me. It carried me on; shaded me from the world other people lived in.' Leaving behind his life of violence in Brazil's darkest shadows, Zico is determined to become a better man. But it seems his old life isn't quite done with him yet when he's tasked with making one last kill. It's one that could get him everything he has ever wanted; a house, some land, cash in his pocket, a future for him and his girlfriend, Daniella. But this one isn't like all the others. This one comes at a much higher price. THE DARKEST HEART is a journey through the shadowy heart of Brazil and the even darker mind of a killer, where fear is a death sentence and the only chance of survival might mean abandoning the only good thing you've ever known.

Big Game - Die Jagd beginnt

Big Game - Die Jagd beginnt

Author: Dan Smith Illustrator: 0 Format: eBook Release Date: 24/04/2015

Action, Abenteuer und viel Humor. In der Nacht vor seinem dreizehnten Geburtstag muss Oskari allein in die Wildnis, so verlangt es die Tradition. Bewaffnet mit Pfeil und Bogen soll er ein Tier erlegen, um seine Mnnlichkeit zu beweisen. Dass Oskari den Bogen kaum spannen kann, erleichtert die Sache nicht gerade. Doch dann fllt ihm der amerikanische Prsident quasi direkt vor die Fe. Er ist nur knapp einem Attentat entkommen und sieht trotz seines schicken Anzugs nicht so aus, als htte er die Lage im Griff. Jetzt kann Oskari zeigen, was in ihm steckt. Verfilmt mit Samuel L. Jackson und Mehmet Kurtulus. "e;BIG GAME macht Riesenspa - so wunderbar absurd und dabei so ehrlich."e; Mehmet Kurtulus