Planet's coolest jobs: children's book author

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Alli hard at work creating her next book © Ed Brydon

We love finding out about all the interesting jobs there are in the world for our Planet's Coolest Jobs series and this month we are especially excited as we got to interview the creative brain behind one of our very own books, Myths and Legends of the World. Alli Brydon is a children's book author and had the important job of retelling the 21 dazzling stories of daring, deceit, reward and punishment which are contained within our book, which was beautifully-illustrated by Julia Iredale.

Describe your job in 5 words

Exciting, humbling, worthwhile, influential, creative

What does your job involve?

A lot of reading, thinking, plotting, and researching. Then...writing! My job – to the outside world – might look like daydreaming, then lots of fast scribbling, and then careful and slow typing. I tend to draft original ideas in a notebook with a pen, then transcribe them to my computer. After the first draft is miraculously on the screen, I then let it sit and marinate as long as I can before going back to revise the manuscript somewhere between 2 and 47 times! Sometimes I start off with an original story idea for a children’s book, and sometimes a publisher will come to me with a specific request. I like both, as they challenge my creativity in different ways.

What's the coolest thing about your job? 

It has to be when I get to meet young readers. When I have an event at a bookstore, or receive letters from readers, it’s like fuel for my own creative spark. Kids are so enthusiastic about stories and are filled with oodles of imagination. It’s amazing to be able to absorb that excitement and spirit.

What advice would you give someone who dreams of having a job like yours?

Be a reader: it’s the first step to becoming a writer. Then, to become a writer...just do it. The more you write, the better you’ll get.

Tell us a story from your job

When I was writing Myths and Legends of the World for Lonely Planet Kids, I was able to tap into some amazing, well-done research that the publishing team had sent to get me started. Building from that, I spent many hours reading different versions of these myths and legends from all over the globe, to embed myself in these enduring stories from other cultures. From my little home office in rural England, I felt like I was travelling through time, and from place to place...only leaving my desk for a cup of tea!

You can follow Alli on Twitter and learn more about her work on her website.

And if your children want to take a journey from ancient to modern times, hot climates to freezing temperatures, mountaintops to seafloors, and more, then head over to our Shop to get your own copy of Myths and Legends of the World.

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