(Create Space, £5.99)
From school dinners that give much more than just an energy boost to a boy who uses an unfortunate problem to his advantage, Dan Worsley turns everything you believe on its head and throws in some twists for good measure. The Lancashire-based children’s author and professional storyteller explains how 15 years teaching inspired Impossible Tales.
What are the major themes and styles running through Impossible Tales?
There are real-life themes interspersed throughout, such as family issues, bullying and the traumas of growing up. Even though the tales are fictional, I still think it is important to include aspects children can relate to.
You are a storyteller as well as a writer. What does this entail?
I visit different venues such as schools and libraries and tell stories to children. I don’t read them or use notes – I tell them from memory and the beauty of doing it that way is the story constantly evolves, making it a unique experience. I have a growing stock of stories with props for each. Sometimes I get special requests for stories linked to topics or specific curriculum areas. This is a challenge, but one which I relish.
How has teaching for 15 years enabled you to write for children?
Working with children for so long meant that I was really fortunate to be able to read lots of fantastic books and see which engaged young readers. I was able to identify the areas which best captured the children’s attention and fired their imaginations. We did lots of writing throughout the curriculum and it was clear that certain themes and topics grabbed the children’s interest.
Are there educational aspects to the tales?
I have written the books from a teacher’s point of view. I worked hard to include the main features of fictional writing which the children cover at school. For example, there are metaphors, complex sentences, variation in sentence openers and alliteration to name but a few. One school is planning to use some of the tales as writing stimuli, which is fabulous to hear and something I am really pleased about.
Is there a story in the book that is emerging as a favourite among readers?
If you are pressing me for one story, Blown Away is probably edging it. It tells the story of a little boy with a huge problem in that he has chronic wind, but uses his problem to his advantage.
Do you have plans for a second volume?
I’ve started to write my next book which will be a short, illustrated novel for children and I’m hoping it will be out late 2015. It will be written very much in the style of Impossible Tales, but will launch an unlikely hero and a fleet of robotic cleaners. I can’t say anymore as it is top secret!