Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie is the world’s best-selling novelist of all time. The ‘Queen of Crime’ was born on the 15 September 1890 in Torquay, Devon, to a well off middle class family. She was home schooled by her American father and was usually the only child at home (even though she had two siblings they were much older than her). Unsurprisingly, her mother was also a magical storyteller but, she did not want her daughter to learn how to read until she was eight years old.
However, with so much free time on her hands Christie taught herself how to read by the age of five. She grew up in the worlds of the Railway Children and the Little Women, immersing herself in the books of her time.
At the age of eleven, Christie and her family experienced a great shock. After a series of heart attacks her father passed away, leaving the Miller family in a great mess. Money problems started to arise and soon Christie became her mother’s closest companion.
At the age of eighteen, she started to amuse herself by writing short stories which were then published in the 1930s. In 1914 she married qualified aviator Archie Christie as they shared much in common. It wasn’t until 1918 when Archie was posted in the War Office in London that Christie felt like her married life had really begun.
Most people have heard of the world famous detective Hercule Poirot and know that she was behind his creation. However, when did she start writing her detective stories?
During the First World War, she started to write detective stories an Hercule Poirot was born. She partly started writing because of a bet from her sister that she couldn’t write a good detective story and to escape her tedious job at the hospital. From then on Christie evolved into the greatest writer the world has ever seen…
David Walliams is well known for his appearances on many different shows, however he is also an excellent children’s author who has written many humorous tales for all ages. He was born in 1971 and grew up in Banstead, Surrey. Throughout his university holidays, he performed with the National Youth Theatre, where he met his comedy friend, Matt Lucas.
He then graduated from Bristol University with a BA in Drama in 1992. His first job in showbiz was when he wrote for The Ant and Dec Show, aged 24. David also likes swimming long distances to raise millions of pounds for charities like Sport Relief. In 2006, he swam the English Channel (21 miles) and raised over £1.5 million for Sport Relief.
Some of David Walliams’ books include Mr Stink, Gangsta Granny, The World’s Worst Children and many more.
Being a good writer is about polishing your books to perfection and writing them to the highest standards. David Walliams, certainly has polished every one of his books to their highest possible standard and that is what makes him the exceptional writer he is today.
More about David Walliams: https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com
Robin Stevens is an author who writes about murder and mystery. Her stories are full of unique characters and detectives.
Robin was born in California and moved to England when she was three. She has two passports (like a spy) and could be the President of the USA and the Prime Minister at the same time if she wanted to be.
She grew up in Oxford and went to an English boarding school, Cheltenham Ladies College. She studied English at Warwick University and completed a MA in Crime Fiction. Believe it or not she really does have a degree in Murder.
From a very young age Robin knew she would write books about murder mystery. Robin has written the famous ‘Murder Most Unladylike’ series.
Recently I had the opportunity to review one of Robin’s books ‘The Guggenheim Mystery’ and ask her a few questions and this is what she said:
Q1. Why did you choose crime fiction as a genre to write about?
“Crime fiction is my favourite kind of story to read and I never get bored. They are so interesting as there are puzzles to solve, you have to work out what happened and you have to read it in a very active way, which means you won’t get bored and put it down. I think it is important to choose a story you really enjoy as a reader to write so that you can tell a story that will always fascinate.”
Q2. I mentioned to my Dad that I was really enjoying reading a murder mystery book and he seemed very concerned. Has anyone questioned you whether murder is an appropriate topic for kids?
“People ask me this all the time. As adults we worry about what children are reading but I wrote ‘Murder Most Unladylike’, because I have a very clear memory of being twelve years old and reading Agatha Christy and being just amazed and fascinated by how intricate, exciting and serious it was. The interesting thing about a Murder book is that it has mystery and it is not about enjoying the crime. Children know terrible things happen and I think it is important for children to consider dark topics, and work through those thoughts and know it is all going to work out in the end but in a safe and positive way.”
More about Robin Stevens: https://robin-stevens.co.uk
I recently met Linda Davies at the Emirates Airline Literature Festival. I thought she was extremely inspiring. She signed my book with the message ‘Aim High’. This really struck a chord with me. It made me realise that this is probably how she became a successful author by always aiming high.
In Linda’s talk she stated that at the time of her childhood, growing up in South Wales, girls were supposed to clean and cook. However, her Mum and Dad gave her the freedom to do things ‘meant’ for boys. When she was young, her goal was to study at Oxford University. Her french teacher told her that she would never be able to achieve her goal. Determined, Linda proved her french teacher wrong and studied at one of the best universities in the world. This teaches us to always believe in ourselves and persevere.
Linda graduated in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) from Oxford University. After university she worked as an investment banker. Soon after, she wrote an article to the local newspaper about how much she hated her job. Impressed with her style of writing the newspaper gave her a job. The next day several banks also offered her a job. Whilst working as a journalist she wrote a book on the side. When her book was liked by so many people around the world, she quit her job and started writing full-time.
Linda took inspiration for the ‘Long Bow Girl, from her own childhood. On her birthday her Dad gave her a longbow, one of her important possessions. As well as being the ‘Longbow Girl’ she also had a pony, Jacintha, who is talked about in this wonderful book. Linda has also written books for adults.
Interestingly, Linda lived in Dubai for eight years with her husband and three children. She initially planned to stay for three years but fell in love with the desert and the sea.
She won the Philip Geddes Prize for journalism. During her time in Dubai she set up the Creative Writing Competition for Children and Young Adults at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.
Linda now lives with her family close to the tranquil sight and smell of the sea in Suffolk, cooking up new ideas and adventures.
More about Linda Davies: http://www.lindadavies.com