We are working with a local (to us in Manchester) author Hannah Byrnes and her debut children’s/YA fantasy book ‘The Dragon Children: The Prophecy‘.
Hannah is pledging 100% of the royalties from this book to Make-A-Wish® UK to help grant magical wishes to children and young people living with life-threatening conditions. I think you’ll agree this is a fantastic cause and all the more reason to purchase this great debut novel!
We sat down for a cuppa and a chat with Hannah in a Manchester coffee shop…
Tell us a bit about your new book…. what is it about?
The Dragon Children: The Prophecy is about two children, Bridget and Kai, who are summonsed to the island of Dragonsreach to learn the ways of the Dragons Code. After all it is their destiny to teach the Code to the rest of mankind. There they meet the last two dragons on earth and will have to take care of a nest of royal dragon eggs which lie in a temple in Zomak, a city that lies in the mountains of Dragonsreach. However, when the Iron Queen wages war on Zomak, the eggs are lost and Bridget and Kai are separated. There is talk of a Prophecy where dragons rule the skies once more, but the outlook is pretty bleak. The story unfolds as they face various challenges in trying to find each other again, before finally facing the Iron Queen herself.
Is it part of a series? Are you planning any more?
My current work in progress is called ‘The Book of the Boggart’, which is a collection of short stories and poems inspired by myths and legends from around the world. I still have some screenplays to write.
I will be returning to Dragonreach this summer to start work on The Dragon Children: The Journey so it is ready for release by Christmas.
What inspired you to write the book?
My dad was an excellent story-teller and always used to tell me stories about dragons when I was a little girl, after all there was no way I was buying into being a princess. Last year was very difficult for me personally, with lots of painful decisions to be made. Right in the middle of it all, I had really vivid dream about dragons and Dragonreach and wanted to write it all down. I have learned so much from the characters and the story itself, it’s been a journey writing the book.
Who do you think will enjoy reading the book?
I hope all ages can enjoy it. I took inspiration from my knowledge of philosophy as well as existing myths and legends to bring the story to life. I was working with a range of beta (test) readers of all ages who really enjoyed it and each took away something different from the story. There are some scary parts so I would not normally recommend to children under the age of 9 but some of my friends have been reading it to their children who are aged 7 and enjoyed every minute of it.
Why did you choose to pledge 100% of the royalties to charity, and why Make-A-Wish?
When I was a teen, one of my best friends at school had a number of debilitating conditions and her life seemed to revolve around hospital visits, medical treatment, and planning even simple trips to the bathroom throughout the day due to having to navigate stairs etc. I would often read to her whilst she received medical treatment from the nurse at school, one of the biggest obstacles she faced was peoples attitudes. She was often ‘seen’ as her condition and people would talk to her about that, rather than normal stuff such as school and music. When Take That came to Manchester, Make-A-Wish arranged for a number of young people to meet the band backstage after a concert and I got to tag along. Not only did my friend get a photo with the band but she got loads of goodies. The experience allowed her to be a teenage girl, be confident and have a little flirt with the hottest band at the time.
Make-A-Wish and its supporters continue to grant magical wishes to children and young people living with life-threatening conditions and some of the stories are really uplifting. I had initially thought of doing the cycle ride, so when I started working on the book it seemed fitting that a book about magic be used to raise funds to create a little magic for others. The charity have been wonderful and I am really honoured to be working with them on this. Royalties come in many forms and I doubt I would have got the support and opportunities I have had if I had just simply published for myself. In fact the manuscript probably will have still been sat on my pc unfinished!
When did you start writing books and why?
I used to write short stories as a teenager and had some works published as part of an anthology for International Women’s Day as a teen. Other than that I never had any ambition to be an author. Before inspiration for the Dragon Children came I was working on adapting some novels for stage and screen and had film directors offering to meet me to discuss my work. I started writing the Dragon Children purely because of a dream. It sounds odd but apparently I am in good company, Stephen King and JK Rowling say the same about their own work.
Which authors, dead or alive, inspire your writing?
I have always loved J.R.R Tolkien who also took inspiration for the Lord of the Rings from Norse mythology, as I have done for the Dragon Children. I always liked the way he used poems and songs in his work which inspired me to do the same. J.K Rowling paved the way for many female authors as until Harry Potter, young adult fantasy was still very much dominated by male writers. Finally, I really enjoy the philosophy and story-telling behind the works of Phillip Pullman and have all his books and plays. I would be a very happy lady if my own writing ever gets compared to those authors!
When is your book available to purchase and from where?
The book has been available on Kindle from 13th February 2015 and on paperback via Amazon this week. There is a signed collectors edition available from my website at www.hannahbyrnes.co.uk