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My Writing and Reading Life_ Dan Scott

My Writing and Reading Life: Dan Scott

Dan Scott | The Children’s Book Review | July 6, 2015

My Writing and Reading Life_ Dan Scott

Dan Scott was born in Surrey, England. Growing up, he became interested in ancient Rome and his love of historical fiction provided plenty of inspiration for the adventure stories he began to write as a child. Eventually, his characters and stories developed into the action-packed Gladiator School series.

Latest published book …

My latest published book is Gladiator School: Blood Oath. It’s the first title in the Gladiator School series, set in Rome in the first century AD. It centres on the brothers Lucius and Quintus and opens at a moment of crisis as their father, a senator suspected of treason, disappears. This marks the moment when their lives change – they lose all their wealth and status and are plunged into the rough and deadly world of the gladiator school.

You wrote it because …

I’ve always loved Roman history, in particular the late first century – a time of charismatic emperors, fires in Rome, persecution of Christians, the building of the Colosseum, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the expansion of the empire into Britannia. I wanted to write a series of books set in this period, and try to weave in some of the real-life personalities and historical events along the way. I’m also deeply fascinated by the world of gladiatorial combat, and have often wondered what happened behind the scenes. What was life like for gladiators between bouts? How did they prepare, mentally and physically, to fight for their lives in the arena? What did they eat? What did they talk about? These men were the superstars of their day (there is graffiti written by their fans on the walls at Pompeii), yet they were also often born into slavery with nothing to trade on but their fighting skills. That makes them fascinating subjects for me, and that was why I decided to set my tale in a gladiator school.

Best moment …

There have been many great moments. I loved researching the book, especially my trip to Rome during which I was able to map out in my own head some of the scenes in the book. But my favourite moment was seeing finished copies of Blood Oath for the first time and knowing that very soon it would be going out into the world to be read and hopefully enjoyed by children.

Your special place to write …

My special place is here where I am now, in my tiny study surrounded by thousands of books – far more than my shelves can safely cope with. There is a constant danger of being flattened by a book avalanche, which might be considered a fitting end for an author! Close at hand are all my precious Roman reference books, which were invaluable during the writing of this series.

Necessary writing/creativity tool …

I have two necessary tools, and armed with these I feel utterly invincible as a writer, much as Quintus must feel in the gladiatorial arena when armed with his net and trident. The first of these is my Roget’s Thesaurus, published in 1987 and held together by lots of brown sticky tape. It’s an endless source of inspiring new words. The second is my mug,regularly replenished with hot, milky tea with a drop of honey for that hint of sweetness. Perfect!

Favorite bookshop …

My favourite bookshop is the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green, North London. It’s run by two enthusiastic book lovers and is full of unexpected treasures. If you’re ever in that part of the world, I urge you to drop in. You won’t be disappointed.

Currently reading …

I am currently reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman. A wonderful fantasy writer, he’s absolutely on top of his game with this one.

All-time favorite children’s book you didn’t write …

Matilda by Roald Dahl. How I would have loved to craft such a tale. What a feisty young heroine! What thrillingly nasty villains, Mr Wormwood and Mrs Trunchbull! And I defy anyone not to cheer when Matilda discovers her supernatural powers and starts to use them to defeat her much bigger foes. I would go so far as to call it the perfect children’s story.

An author you idol …

Conn Iggulden. His Emperor series, tracing the story of Julius Caesar, is historical fiction at its very best. I was gripped from beginning to end.

Favorite illustrator …

Maurice Sendak. The illustrations in his book Where the Wild Things Are enchanted, mystified and terrified me when I was a young child. There is one illustration when Max’s bedroom starts to change into a forest that I have never forgotten.

A literary character to vacation with …

I would love to vacation with Mr. Toad from Wind in the Willows. I know he’s lazy, snobbish, reckless, self-centred and cowardly, but I find him an enthralling character. I love his impulsiveness and his zest for life. I don’t think I could ever be bored in his company.

Blood Oath - coverGladiator School: Blood Oath

Written by Dan Scott

Publisher’s Synopsis: Introducing Gladiator School, a thrilling series set in ancient Rome. Young Lucius’s privileged life crumbles when his father Aquila is accused of being a spy and a traitor. Now, Aquila has mysteriously disappeared, and in order to support their family, whose home and riches have now been lost, Lucius’s brother Quintus has taken the dreaded blood oath to become a gladiator.

While Quintus risks his life in the arena, Lucius sets out to prove his father’s innocence; but how could he possibly hope to do so when his own family thinks Aquila is guilty? After all, why else would his father have run away? An action-packed and exciting look at the life of a gladiator in the first century, Blood Oath will have readers rapidly turning the pages until an end that will leave them eager for Book 2.

Ages 9 and up | Publisher: Sterling Publishing Group | June 2, 2015 | ISBN-13: 9781908177483

Available Here: 


Discover more middle grade books like Gladiator School: Blood Oath: Book 1by Dan Scott, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with ; and be sure to follow along with our Writing and Reading Life series.

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