|Full Name||Linda Anne Chapman|
|Year of birth||1969|
|Present place of residence||
… A very old cottage with a tower in a village in Leicestershire where I live with my husband (Peter), daughters Iola (16), Amany (13) and Spike (9) plus a Golden Retriever, Simba; a Cockapoo, Candy and a Tibetan Terrier, Bracken.
|Colour of hair||Blonde|
|Colour of eyes||Bluey green
|Special virtue||I don’t need much sleep|
|Special vice||I like eating chocolate and sweets|
Chocolate from a chocolate fountain, sherbet and very fresh white peaches
|Favourite smell||Fresh cut grass, new hay, leather and ponies|
|Favourite sound||The sound of my son, Spike, laughing|
|Favourite poem||‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling and ‘The Small Dragon’ by Brian Patten|
|Personal motto||Oh go on, why not? (as in ‘shall I get a third dog/take the day off school and work to go to the Horse of the Year Show/move house? Oh go on, why not!) Life’s much more fun when you think that instead of thinking of all the reasons you shouldn’t do something!|
|As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?||A writer or a Shetland Sheep Dog breeder or a groom at an Arab horse stud.|
|What is the first book you read and loved?||‘Shadow the Sheep Dog’ and ‘Five on a Secret Trail’ both by Enid Blyton. When I was growing up I loved Enid Blyton’s books and pony stories by the Pullein-Thompson sisters and Ruby Ferguson, E Nesbit and Noel Streatfeild.|
|What makes you happy?||Riding horses, playing with dogs, being on my own, being with people I love, doing fun things with my family, taking Iola to horse shows, going out for meals, going on holiday, talking to people who like my books and most of all finishing a book!|
Did you always want to be a writer?
Always but I never thought it was the sort of job you really could do, so I trained to be a teacher and then went to work in the theatre as a stage manager and then, like most writers did loads of other jobs including working at Waterstones, being a nanny, a dog trainer, working at a university, teaching after school drama classes, tutoring while I wrote in my spare time and sent manuscripts off to publishers. I spent seven years trying to get published. It isn’t easy! But I kept trying because I believed I could do it and I did and I have now been writing full time for ten years and I love it and wouldn’t want to do anything else. So if YOU want to be a writer keep trying!
How many books have you written?
When did you get your first book published?
1999. It was called Bunny Bonanza.
How did you become a writer?
I started off writing under different names. I have written some (but nowhere near all!) of the books published under the names Lucy Daniels, Jenny Dale, Katie Chase, Daisy Meadows, Lauren Brooke. Someone else had had the ideas for the stories but didn’t want to write the books themselves and so I was asked if I would write some of them. I love writing under lots of different names, it’s really good fun.
Why do you always write books that are more for girls than boys?
I don’t actually. I know people think I do and I know I do write more for girls but the Genie books are for both boys and girls and a few years ago I decided I wanted to write for boys so I came up with a series called Superpowers which is about two boys. I wrote it under the name Alex Cliff in case the name Linda Chapman put any boys off. It’s such a fun series. The two boys in it are completely normal boys and yet for a week one of them gets to have a superpower each day and they have to try and complete an impossible task each day like killing a nine headed river monster or clearing masses of poo out of a huge stable or capturing a sabre toothed lion. Lots of girls love it too because there’s loads of action and excitement. It was one of Iola’s favourite series of mine for ages.
What is your favourite book out of all the ones you have written?
It’s impossible to answer! I have different favourite books in different series. In My Secret Unicorn my favourites are probably Starlight Surprise, A Special Friend and Snowy Dreams. In Not Quite a Mermaid I like Mermaid Party, Mermaid Surprise and Mermaid Promise. In Stardust I like Shadows of Magic and Magic at Midnight best. But I also really love Bright Lights and Centre Stage, all the Superpowers books and Genie Us!
You write some books with Steve Cole, Lee Weatherly, Michelle Misra. What is it like writing with another author?
It’s brilliant fun. Writing can be quite lonely and it is lovely to be able to talk about ideas and to share the writing of a book. It is great to go to bed at night and the next day find some more of the book has been written. I love it but you have to get on very well because there can be quite a few arguments!
I am eleven and getting a bit too old for some of your books, do you write for older readers?
'Yes, my series Loving Spirit is a horse series for readers age 9+. It is meant for readers who liked My Secret Unicorn but have grown up a bit. I have also written Bright Lights and Centre Stage about an eleven-year-old who becomes a film star and the Genie books I write with Steve are aimed at 9-12 year olds.. I have also written quite a lot of the earlier books in the Heartland series (published under the name Lauren Brooke). It is for ten year olds and upwards and is about horses and family and an amazing fourteen-year-old girl called Amy who helps heal damaged horses who no one else will help. In the first book her mum dies and she is left on her own with her grandfather, an older sister who has grown up away from her and her best friend, a boy called Ty, who works at her family’s stables. Actually Heartland is one of my favourite series too!
Do you know many writers?
I know lots. My closest writing friends are Steve Cole, Lee Weatherly who writes fantastic stories about fairies at school called Glitterwings, she writes these as Titania Woods and Liz Kessler who writes brilliant stories about slightly older mermaids and fairies. Ann Bryant who writes loads of fab books about girls and their familes and friends, Julie Sykes and Diana Kimpton who writes the wonderful Pony-mad Princess series (along with lots of other books!)
Do you have any pets?
Yes, we have three dogs, a Golden Retriever called Simba, a cockapoo called Candy and a Tibetan Terrier called Bracken. We also have a 13hh, Welsh Section B, palomino pony called Angel, a 13.2hh, Welsh Section B, black pony called Travis and a 15.2hh grey, Anglo Arab called Pinky.
I had lots of horses and ponies growing up too. I got my first pony, Swizzle on loan when I was 9, he was a grey 12.2hh Welsh Mountain, then I had Heidi who was a rose grey 13.3hh Arab x Welsh, then I had Juan who was a dapple grey 15hh Arab x Welsh and then I had Tan who was a dapple grey 16hh Trakhener.
I used to do lots of pony club shows – gymkhana games, show jumping, cross country, equitation and as I got older I started doing a lot of dressage although I always loved cross country.
I had to sell Tan when I was 20 because I was at university and he was missing me too much. It broke my heart at the time because although all my horses were special, he was extra special. He went to a lovely home but I missed him so, so much.
What are your top tips for writing?
Always write something you would like to read. Make it exciting, if you are using chapters make sure each one ends at an exciting point. Try to give the reader a feeling for what is happening inside the main character’s head. Describe what is happening, everything you see, as if you are watching a film. If I am trying to think of an idea I think of something that would be an amazing thing to happen, something I would really like to happen.