Linda Chapman learned to ride when she was three. Her first pony was Swizzle, a stubborn Welsh Mountain pony who she used to imagine was a unicorn. Unfortunately, Swizzle behaved nothing like the Twilight of her stories!
Linda Chapman is best known for her series: My Secret Unicorn, books full of secrets, magic and of course a mythical creature, the unicorn. She then turned to acting and dreams and wrote Bright Lights, a book about a girl who longs to be a film actress, a Ballet Shoes for the 21st century.
When Linda is not writing she trains dogs and teaches drama – and of course rides whenever she can.
Born: Liverpool, January 15th 1969
Jobs: Theatre stage manager, teacher, researcher, dog trainer, nanny, bookseller
Lives: Loughborough, Leicestershire
First book for Puffin: My Secret Unicorn: The Magic Spell
Linda’s books are perfect for young girls passionate about ponies or acting. The stories are fast and strong and the stuff that dreams are made of. Linda wrote her first book, a pony story, when she was thirteen but was first published in 1999 when she was thirty. There are six books in the My Secret Unicorn series, followed by two books about the stage: Bright Lights and Centre Stage. Linda has now started a new series of books about friendship and family relationships in which she weaves fantasy into everyday life – the first title is Stardust: Magic by Moonlight.
WHAT SHE SAYS…
“My ideas come mainly from my imagination and from things that have happened to me.”
“There are books I loved when I was a child that have special memories for me because I read them so many times – particularly pony stories by the Pullein-Thompson sisters, Walter Farley’s Black Stallion, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Mystery series' and Gwynedd Rae’s series about a bear called Mary Plain. There are also books that I have read more recently that I just love like Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy and Cate Tiernan’s Wicca series.”
Linda’s advice to would-be writers: “Write lots – writing is a skill the more you write the better you get – write ideas down whenever you have them and don’t waste time tidying your desk or thinking about the title, just get writing!”
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT LINDA CHAPMAN…
About My Secret Unicorn: “A wonderful series about Lauren and Twilight, all beautifully written and charmingly illustrated throughout. Perfect for young misses.”
“For a child going through pony passion, My Secret Unicorn, The Magic Spell is a marvelous read… Our seven-year-old devoured this book at one sitting and now wants the sequel."
PLACE & DATE OF BIRTH:
I have lots of favourite books. There are the books I loved when I was a child that have special memories for me because I read them so many times – particularly pony stories by the Pullein-Thompson sisters, Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Mystery series and Gwynedd Rae’s series about a bear called Mary Plain. There are also books that I have read more recently that I just love like Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials Trilogy, the Harry Potter books, Cate Tiernan’s Wicca series and as far as adult books go, anything by Patrick McGrath, John Fowles, George Eliot and Jilly Cooper.
‘Love Song’ by The Cure
I haven’t got a favourite film but my favourite TV series is ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ I think it is brilliantly written and I love the way it combines fantasy and reality in a believable way.
MOST TREASURED POSSESSION:
My old rocking horse
When did you start writing?
I have always written stories for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first full-length book, a pony story, when I was thirteen. The first time I was published was in 1999 when I was 30.
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
Mainly from my imagination and from things that have happened to me.
Can you give your top 3 tips to becoming a successful author
1 Write lots – writing is a skill and the more you write the better you get.
2 Write ideas down whenever you have them.
3 Don’t waste time tidying your desk or thinking about the title, just get writing!
My tenth birthday - the day I got my first dog. When I came downstairs for breakfast, my parents took me into the lounge where there was a table with some presents on. I was a bit disappointed because I had really wanted a dog. And then I saw a white envelope. When I opened it, I found a dog’s pedigree inside and a note that said ‘look in the kitchen’. I ran to the kitchen and there was Sherry, my new puppy. As soon as I crouched down, she jumped straight on to my lap. It was love at first sight.
Favourite place in the world and why?
I have two favourite places. My current home because that is where the people I love most in the world are and the beach beside the house that I grew up in because I spent hours and hours alone there, thinking, playing and making-up stories.
What are your hobbies?
Horse riding, running a children’s drama group, dog training, reading and playing with my daughter.
If you hadn’t been a writer what do you think you would have been?
I can’t imagine not having become a writer but I would probably have been a teacher, a theatre stage manager, an academic or maybe a dog trainer.