Chris d'Lacey got a late start on his writing career, but he's made up for lost time — he's the author of more than 25 books for kids. Though he's best known for his dragon novels, The Last Dragon Chronicles and The Dragons of Wayward Crescent, he's also written about polar bears, pigeons, squirrels, snails, pirates, ducks, and soccer (called football outside the U.S.) Some of his books are based on real life, others are pure fantasy, but they all share d'Lacey's warm and quirky sense of humor.
You can watch the interview below, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Chris d'Lacey, or see a selected list of his children's books. (This video is also available on YouTube and iTunes.)
Chris d'Lacey was born in Malta but moved with his family to Leicester, England, when he was a child. Growing up, he loved to play soccer and appear in school plays. In fact, his book The Prompter is based on his own experience in a school production of Peter Pan. He was too excitable for an actual role in the play, so his teacher made him the "prompter," who helps the actors when they forget their lines. Then, two days before opening night, one of the actors came down with the chicken pox, and d'Lacey found himself playing the role of Captain Hook!
As a teenager, d'Lacey wanted to be rock star like David Bowie. He wrote songs, played the guitar, and even dyed his hair funny colors. Song writing eventually lead to creative writing when d'Lacey wrote a short story about polar bears to go with the stuffed polar bear he bout his wife for Christmas.
His first children's novel, Fly Cherokee, Fly, like The Prompter, is based on a true story. D'Lacey found an injured pigeon in a park and nursed it back to health. For the next 14 years, it lived in a birdhouse in his backyard. (You can learn more about Cherokee in our video interview.) His best-known books are the two series of books about dragons — The Dragons of Wayward Crescent, with friendly beasts for younger children and The Dragon Chronicles, which follows the adventures of David Rain after he realizes that he's sharing a house with some live dragons.
Chris worked for 28 years in the biology laboratory at the University of Leicester in Leicester, England. It was there, during tea breaks, that he began to try his hand at writing. He still lives in Leicester, with his wife, but now does his writing at home — full-time — when he's not out visiting schools.