Author Q&A: Danny Weston

April 04, 2018

Danny Weston is a teen horror writer and winner of the Scottish Children’s Book Prize. He recently ran a workshop at our Edinburgh Blackhall centre on what it’s like to be a horror writer, and we took the chance to interview him about being an author!

You spent some time with our members in Edinburgh. What was it like? 

I had a fantastic time at Explore Learning. We had a roomful of young people exploring their own creativity and producing some exciting fiction.

Why are you pleased to be named as an ambassador for the National Young Writers’ Awards?

It’s great to have the opportunity to be part of such an exciting initiative. Literacy is so import and anything that helps to promote it has to be a worthwhile endeavor.

What tips would you give to young writers?

Start young and make sure you show your work to as many people as possible. Get their reactions to what you’ve written and listen carefully to any criticisms. Always be ready to rewrite what you’ve done. Every time you do that it will get better.

We are asking children to write stories about a hero, who was your hero when you were a child and why?

My hero was the author, Ray Bradbury. It was reading his wonderful book, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ that started me on the path to becoming an author.

Who is your hero now and why?

Believe it or not, after all these years, it’s still Ray Bradbury! He died a few years ago at the age of 91, still writing to the very end.

Your books are horror/thrillers, why do you choose to write about this genre?

I’m not sure if we choose a genre or the genre chooses us. But I certainly love to create thrilling (and sometimes chilling) stories.

When you were a child, what did you want to do when you were older?

I wanted to be a writer from my early teens. It maybe took me ten years to get there and I am now celebrating my 41st year of publication!

What advice would you give to children about pursuing their dream job?

Give it your very best shot. When people tell you that you can’t do it – and they probably will – keep on trying. And be prepared to do other jobs to bring in some money while you’re learning your craft.

Your stories are quite dark, how do you get your inspiration for your stories?

Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places – something in the newspaper, something glimpsed from the window of a moving train, a chance remark made by a friend – tiny seeds from which a new story will steadily grow.

What was your favourite children’s book growing up?

It has to be ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ – the book that changed my life. It’s still in print and still as brilliant as ever. Why not give a go?

What stories do you love to read now?

I find it hard to allocate enough time to read these days but I do try and have a book on the go when I can. I think it’s important to try all kinds of genres.

What were you like at school? Did you have a favourite subject?

I’m afraid I was a terrible student. I suffer from something called dyscalculia, which is basically an inability to understand numbers, so my attempts at mathematics were disastrous. I was good at English though (particularly composition) and I had a flair for art. I later went to art school where I qualified as a graphic designer… though I sold my first book when I was at college so never worked in that field.

We’re encouraging all children, even those who are a little reluctant, to put pen to paper and write a story for our National Young Writers’ Awards! This year’s theme is all about heroes – find out more and how to enter our free writing competition…

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