7 Facts About Dick King-Smith

Here are some facts about Dick King-Smith, the author of some very well-loved children’s books, such as The Sheep Pig (which became the movie Babe) and The Fox Busters.

  1. Dick King-Smith has three grown-up children, Juliet, Lizzie and Giles, and more than ten grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
  2. Before he became a fulltime writer, Dick King-Smith worked as a farmer, a primary school teacher, a shoemaker and a salesman.
  3. The Fox Busters was his first published children’s book.
  4. Dick King-Smith has written more than 100 books for children, most of them featuring animals.
  5. He writes his books in a tiny room at the top of his house, Diamond’s Cottage.
  6. Every morning he writes for two hours in pen on plain white A4 paper. In the afternoon he types out what he’s written.
  7. When he was a farmer, the pigs were Dick’s favourite animals. He even has a bronze statue of a pig in his garden.

Update: Dick King-Smith died on 4th January 2011. He was 88 years old.

12 Facts About J.K. Rowling

Here are some interesting facts about the author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling.

  1. Her earliest memory is of playing with playdough when her sister was being born.
  2. Both of her parents loved reading, and she remembers her father reading Wind in the Willows to her when she had the measles.
  3. She loves tropical fish.
  4. She was born in Chipping Sodbury, near Bristol.
  5. J.K. Rowling attended a village school in Tutshill. One of the teachers at the school was one of the individuals who influenced the character of Severus Snape.
  6. Her best friend at school was called Sean Harris. J.K. Rowling dedicated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to him. Ron Weasley is apparently very much like Sean Harris.
  7. As a child J.K. Rowling’s favourite book was The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.
  8. The idea for the Harry Potter books came to her on a train journey from Manchester to London. During the journey she came up with the characters of Harry Potter, Hagrid, Ron, Peeves and Nearly Headless Nick.
  9. J.K. Rowling planned out the entire seven-book series before she started to write the first one! She nearly always writes complete histories for all of her characters. Much of this information and detail does not actually end up in her books.
  10. By her twenty-eighth birthday, just after the birth of her daughter, Jessica, she had completed the first three chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
  11. The first Harry Potter book (the first ever published book by J.K. Rowling) came out in July 1997.
  12. Her first ever fan letter was from a reader called Francesca Gray. She thought J.K. Rowling was a man and started her letter, ‘Dear Sir…’

8 Roald Dahl Quotes About Writing

In putting together my post about Roald Dahl’s writing method, I came across a number of interesting Roald Dahl quotes.

Here are some of Roald Dahl’s thoughts and opinions about writers and writing.

“Two hours of writing fiction leaves this writer completely drained. For those two hours he has been in a different place with totally different people.”

“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it”

“The life of a writer is absolute hell compared to the life of a businessman. The writer has to force himself to work He has to make his own hours and if he doesn’t go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him…A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.”

“When you’re writing a book, it’s rather like going on a very long walk, across valleys and mountains and things, and you get the first view of what you see and you write it down. Then you walk a bit further, maybe up onto the top of a hill, and you see something else. Then you write that and you go on like that, day after day, getting different views of the same landscape really. The highest mountain on the walk is obviously the end of the book, because it’s got to be the best view of all, when everything comes together and you can look back and see that everything you’ve done all ties up. But it’s a very, very long, slow process.”

“The prime function of the children’s book writer is to write a book that is so absorbing, exciting, funny, fast and beautiful that the child will fall in love with it. And that first love affair between the young child and the young book will lead hopefully to other loves for other books and when that happens the battle is probably won. The child will have found a crock of gold. He will also have gained something that will help to carry him most marvellously through the tangles of his later years.”

“A writer of fiction lives in fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not.”

“The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. He wants a drink. He needs it.”

“Good writing is essentially rewriting.”