An Interview with Pam Howard
The magical Isle of Harris is famous for many things - sandy beaches, tweed, gin...
It now also boasts its very own fantasy stories. The McDragon books are stories for children aged 8 and upwards, set on this mystical western Isle. We caught up with author Pam Howard for a chat about her work -
Jenny: Firstly Pam, tell us a bit about your novels -
Pam Howard: In McDragon, on a visit to the Isle of Harris while on holiday, our young hero Peter is stunned to see some rocks which are in the shape of a dragon melt away and a magnificent black dragon stands before him.
His name is McDragon and he has been waiting for Peter to arrive because it is written in dragon lore that Peter will be the one to save the future of the dragons. This is the start of an amazing adventure for our friend. He travels with McDragon, in dragon time, which means that he can fly with the black dragon and still be back in time for breakfast - his parents will be none the wiser!
His task is to find the dragon pearl which has been stolen and this brings him into contact with the evil wizard, McMuran, and his nasty and dangerous friends, the squawkins. During his adventure Peter makes some new and very different friends, including a trapped young dragon.
J: Tell us about your hero, Peter -
PH: Although the object of bullies at school, Peter finds he dreams of dragons. The bullies call him 'Dragon Boy' and laugh at him because one day he foolishly mentions dragons. They also torment him because he has a hand which is missing two fingers and that makes some tasks a little tricky for him.
J: If you were to sum up the McDragon series in a tweet, how would you describe it?
PH: Thrilling adventure books involving magic, fierce dragons and an evil wizard.
J: What's not to love about that?! Both of your novels are set on the Isle of Harris - why does this setting appeal to you?
PH: While on holiday on Harris I saw some rocks which could well have been a dragon. That was my moment of inspiration and McDragon came to life!
J: If you imagine the reader you think would most enjoy these books, how would you describe them?
PH: These books will appeal to children who want to immerse themselves in an exciting adventure involoving dragons, magic and wizards. One boy told me that he was reading McDragon to his whole class and they were really enjoying it. Another read it under the bed covers with a torch because he couldn't put it down.
J: Can we expect more books in the McDragon series?
PH: There are certainly more books in the series on the way - one has already been written and there is another one half-way in the making.
J: What’s your best piece of writing advice?
PH: My advice would be to write about where your heart and imagination lead you, but also keep to what you know or has happened to you in your life.
J: If you could only write one more book, what would it be about and why?
PH: Dragons are my passion - I love the mystery of them and am sure they must have existed in times gone by, because how else would we know about them? I would definitely include dragons in my books in the future.
J: And lastly, if you could only recommend one place in Scotland for someone to visit, where would it be and why?
PH: My choice in Scotland would, of course, be the Isle of Harris. It is a truly magical place, a place of beauty and great majesty. It's very inspiring.
All three of the McDragon books are available to order now - part of our extensive range of children's books for older readers.