The write stuff – my 4 favourite authors
By Elliot Thompson
I wish I could remember the exact moment that my passion for words ignited.
I guess it possibly started with the first proper thing I wrote – I was 5 and it was a short poem called The Dolphin Song. My teacher was so impressed that she laminated it, and I still have it safely stowed away at home!
I carried on writing from then on, with the hope in the back of my mind that one day I could write for a living.
Fast forward a few years and I’m fulfilling my ambition with my new role as a Content Developer for Maratopia, so it’s a good time to look back at four fantastic writers who have inspired a me on this journey.
1. Jacqueline Wilson
‘I get very touching feedback from children, especially when they’re going through hard times. It makes me feel so proud if one or other of my books helps a child feel like they’re not alone and that it’s not their fault.’
Jacqueline Wilson was my first favourite author. I came across her when I was about six, thanks to a TV show I really liked. When I was out shopping with my Mum, I saw the original book version by Wilson – she kindly bought me a copy and from then on I was hooked.
What I love about her books is that the topics are highly relatable for children, so you can see yourself in her characters. Plus, she doesn’t shy away from darker issues that children need to learn about, such as bullying and family break-ups. For me, her books were a source of comfort and entertainment that helped me to grow up.
I was lucky enough to meet her when I was 11 at a book signing for her autobiography. She was kind and friendly, and it was an incredible experience. Reading her life story, I was inspired by her rise from humble beginnings to becoming one of Britain’s most-loved authors.
2. Anthony Horowitz
‘There isn’t a single thing in the world that doesn’t have a story attached to it, and all you have to do is ask the right questions.’
After Wilson came Horowitz – I was 8 years old and spotted this book at school with a cool looking missile on the front and the words ‘Alex Rider has 90 minutes to save the world’. It turned out this was the fourth book in the series about the teenager turned spy, so I searched for volume 1 and started in sequence.
I love how vividly Horowitz writes action sequences and the way he invents really imaginative and unexpected escape methods for Alex when he’s in danger. His books are thrilling – to this day, the Alex Rider collection is my favourite series of books.
3. Maya Angelou
‘Just like moons and like suns, with the certainty of tides, just like hopes springing high, still I’ll Rise’
My Mum introduced me to Maya Angelou through a video of the writer reading her incredible poem ‘Still I Rise’.
It’s an uplifting piece about not letting anything or anyone bring you down – something I think everyone needs to hear. Captivated by her passion and conviction and beautiful rhythms, I replayed the recital countless times that day.
I think that anecdote perfectly sums up my relationship with Angelou – her carefully crafted words stir something inside me that motivates me and makes me wise. She does more than entertain, she inspires.
4. Tim Weaver
‘I’ll be honest, when I’m writing a book, I don’t read at all. Not because I don’t want to, but because I find other books start interfering with my thought processes.’
Tim Weaver is my latest writing inspiration and one who I’m still getting to know.
As I got older, I started to branch out and read more adult fiction. As I did, I found I enjoyed the thriller genre, and during a blurb reading trip to Waterstones last year, I decided to give Weaver a try.
I’m currently reading my second Weaver novel, part of a series centred around missing persons detective David Raker. I really enjoy the fast pace of these novels – with short chapters and constant twists and turns, the tension is always building.
I’d like to tackle the thriller genre in my own writing, and I reckon Weaver will be a great teacher.
Each one of these writers has helped shape me in some way so far and will no doubt continue to as my career develops – I’m super grateful to them all.