Cheryl has worked on loads of non-fiction books for kids, on subjects ranging from Greek myths to face-painting, origami and magic. She finds that researching factual books means you learn all kinds of odd stuff, so you're quite useful in general knowledge quizzes.
She devours novels and has a particular fondness for science fiction (not the battles-with-aliens sort but the what-life-might-be-like-in-the-future ones).
She lives in London, where she grows flowers and vegetables and likes walking along the River Thames.
Q&A with Cheryl Lanyon
What inspired you to write for reluctant readers?
I want everyone to enjoy reading, so if I can help someone who's not so keen to get into it, that's great.
What challenges do struggling readers face when they open a book?
Too much text, sentences too long, boring subject-matter, doesn't relate to them.
What features and methods do you use to ensure that your books have that high-interest appeal that really engages young readers?
Subjects that appeal, up-to-date information, facts and figures, fun, friendly tone and language (like having a conversation).
What difference do books like these make to children who are in need of literacy support?
I hope they break the barriers that block enjoyment of reading.
Can you give us any teasers of what to expect in your upcoming Famous Faces title?
You'll meet celebs you see on telly all the time and maybe find out some surprising facts about them.
What controls do you place on the vocabulary you use and how important is this?
I try to use the language you use in conversation – direct and straightforward, but also colourful. I think it's important – nobody wants to use a dictionary all the time when they're reading something interesting, they just want to get on with it.
What is your favourite children's book?
I loved the Asterix comic books. All those funny names and Asterix and Obelix getting into all sorts of adventures (always coming out on top, of course)!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers/authors?
For writing non-fiction: remember your readers probably don't know what you know about the subject, so make sure you start from the beginning and explain everything clearly and simply. And include amazing facts and jokes, if you can!
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