James Erith

James Erith was born in Suffolk in 1970. He travelled extensively, worked as a journalist and garden designer in London. In 2003 James moved to North Yorkshire between the stunning Yorkshire Dales and the Yorkshire Moors. This beautiful area inspired him to use it as the location for his acclaimed middle grade adventure epic, the Eden Chronicles. The first of which, the Power and the Fury was followed by Spider Web Powder.

Q. What books did you read when you were a child?
A. I adored the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, Roald Dahl, and books like Stig of The Dump and the adventures of Huckleberry Finn. More recently, the Hunger Games and The Game of Thrones series.

Q. If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
A. James Bond, of course. What an incredibly exciting life of and tons of brilliant gadgets. I also rather like Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl, a brilliant central character and fantasy setting.

Q. What is the best thing about reading?
A. Immersing yourself in the characters and the story and feeling entirely made over by them. It’s a unique, wondrous sensation.

Q. What is your all time favourite book?
A. Roahl Dahl’s James and The Giant Peach, when I was a child (partly because we share a name!). Brilliant, imaginative storytelling. The Dice Man, by Luke Reinhart later on, a peach of a book about choices and luck.

Q. Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
A. Writing - a diary or letters - and reading newspapers like First News and listening and debating! Playing games is another good way to develop key communication skills. And why not try some speech and drama at a local club or with a group of friends. Try and make it fun – or meaningful.

Q. How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
A. From a young age they encouraged me to write letters and a diary, and I did. A huge amount of my scribbles were deadly dull, but just occasionally a snippet of gold slipped in there (not literally). But I enjoyed it and slowly the fabulous feeling of putting words down in the form of thoughts and experiences grew and grew blossoming into stories like The Eden Chronicles series.

Q. How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
A. My girls, 12 and 10, are avid readers. They move in cycles - reading like crazy for a week or two, and then not so much. But when they’ve been sucked into a book only chocolate can prise them away. My youngest one, aged 9, struggles to engage with stories so we spend time reading together, taking it in turns and slowly he’s finding out how powerful, funny, ridiculous and sad a good story can make you feel.

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