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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

Red Winter

Red Winter

Author: Dan Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/07/2014

The chilling, sophisticated new historical thriller from the acclaimed writer of THE CHILD THIEF. Russia, 1920. Kolya has deserted his Red Army unit and returns home to bury his brother and reunite with his wife and sons. But he finds the village silent and empty. The men have been massacred in the forest. The women and children have disappeared. In this remote, rural community the folk tales mothers tell their children by candlelight take on powerful significance and the terrifying legend of The Deathless One begins to feel very real. Kolya sets out on a journey through dense, haunting forests and across vast plains as bitter winter sets in, in the desperate hope he will find his family. But there are very dark things in his past - and there's someone, or something, on his trail...

Ghosts of Bobby Mackey's Music World

Ghosts of Bobby Mackey's Music World

Author: Dan Smith Illustrator: 0 Format: eBook Release Date: 17/09/2013

Over the years, Bobby Mackey's Music World has played host to countless real-life horror stories and a string of criminal activity. The site has been the location of death and destruction since the nineteenth century, including illegal lynchings and a bridge collapse killing forty-one men. Illegal gambling and liquor abounded when it later served as the Bluegrass Inn. In more recent years, mafia bosses turned it into a mafia-controlled nightclub known as the Latin Quarter. Beginning with the caretaker who fell under a demonic possession to more recent encounters between patrons and the paranormal, author Dan Smith revives the chilling stories that make it the most haunted nightclub in America.

The Child Thief

The Child Thief

Author: Dan Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 09/05/2013

In the snow, death is not the coldest thing waiting for you... From out of the whiteness, a dark figure comes... December, 1930, Ukraine. After the horrors of war, Luka wants a quiet life with his family. His village has, so far, remained hidden from the advancing Soviet brutality - but everything changes the day a stranger arrives, pulling a sled bearing a terrible cargo: the bodies of two children. When the villagers' fear turns deadly, they think they have saved themselves. And then a little girl vanishes. Luka is the only man with the skills to find the stolen child in these frozen lands. And though his toughest enemy is the man he tracks through the harsh winter landscape, his strongest bond is a promise to his family back home...

State of the World Atlas [ff]

State of the World Atlas [ff]

Author: Dan Smith Illustrator: 0 Format: eBook Release Date: 12/03/2013

This unique book, a milestone of graphic reporting, has become a trade reference classic since its first publication in the 1970s. Completely revised and updated, the new 9th edition of this groundbreaking atlas with attitude keeps pace with the speed of change, using over 100 thematic world maps and vivid graphics to break down hardcore statistics into accessible, compelling form.Widely praised for its ingenious design and statistically meticulous presentation of trends, The State of the World Atlas graphically analyses every key indicator and vital statistic of modern life, from wealth and power, war and peace through to rights, health and the environment.Authored by leading international peace researcher Dan Smith, it has sold over 700,000 copies in different languages around the world, offering its sharp analysis and informed comment on the most challenging issues facing the world today.

Talk with Your Mouth Full The Hearty Boys Cookbook

Talk with Your Mouth Full The Hearty Boys Cookbook

Author: Dan Smith, Steve McDonagh, Laurie Proffitt Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/06/2011

The original winners of The Next Food Network Star bring their signature style of casual entertaining to their first book. These Hearty Boys don't solve literary mysteries, but they sure are great at demystifying party-throwing. Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh are two guys who never attended culinary school yet build one of Chicago's most popular catering businesses, and now run the popular restaurant Hearty. Their self-deprecating, natural approach to cooking, which made them such a hit on the Food Network, comes through on every page. Packed with exciting but accessible recipes, clever how-to tips, and a gaggle of tales from the catering trenches, this is a truly entertaining guide to the art of entertaining. Featured recipes include hors d'oeuvres, starters, main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and libations. Nibble on Gorgonzola, Fig, and Pecan Cheese Terrine, or pass Seared Ahi on Wonton Crisps. Or sit down to enjoy Balsamic Mushroom Chicken and Oven-roasted Root Veggies, and finish the meal with Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes. Talk with Your Mouth Full offers help on everything from chilling wine to decorating a buffet table, as well as complete menus and planning advice. It's the ultimate guide to enjoying good food and good company.

Saving Homer

Saving Homer

Author: Dan Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/12/2010

Forgotten Firsts A Compendium of Lost Pioneers, Trend-Setters and Innovators

Forgotten Firsts A Compendium of Lost Pioneers, Trend-Setters and Innovators

Author: Dan Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/10/2010

Everyone knows that Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon and that George Washington was the first American president. But what about all those other pioneers and originators (and even the occasional guinea pig) who have been lost in the footnotes of history? This fascinating book is a collection of those lesser-known innovators who deserve their place amongst the list of 'famous firsts'. It will probably come as no surprise that the first ever restaurateur was a Parisian; his name was Monsieur Boulanger and he originally served up soups which he called restaurants (restoratives) to his clientele. Did you know, however, that the first circus ringmaster was a celebrated cavalryman called Philip Astley who developed his horse-riding act into a grand spectacle that established a blueprint for the circus we know and love today. This is the book that no trivia fiend or general knowledge buff should be without!

The State of the Middle East An Atlas of Conflict and Resolution

The State of the Middle East An Atlas of Conflict and Resolution

Author: Dan Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/10/2008

As Western powers attempt to redraw the map of the Middle East, Dan Smith uses his forensic skills to unravel this arena of confrontation and instability, from the Ottoman Empire to the present day. With customarily acute analysis, he highlights key issues and maps their global implications to explain why this region has become, and will remain, the focal point for international relations. Updated topics in this title include: Demographic data; The Israel-Palestine situation; The current war in Iraq; The situation in Lebanon; Refugees and migration; and, Islam in the world Copub: Myriad Editions.

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