Children’s author Caroline Lawrence at Marlborough Literature Festival

27 Sep
Children’s author Caroline Lawrence at Marlborough Literature Festival

Children’s author Caroline Lawrence at Marlborough Literature Festival

Words and picture by Milo Davison, aged 8

Today I went to the Lit Fest and listened to Caroline Lawrence, who writes The Roman Mysteries series of books.

I have almost finished reading The Legionary from Londinium, and I am really enjoying it.

Caroline told us how to make a hero in our stories.

The main one for her is the Achilles’ heel: give your character a weak spot, for instance, like Superman.

Her favourite hero is Sherlock Holmes because he doesn’t have a super powers: he uses his brain.

She loved Nancy Drew. Her heroine, Flavia, is like Nancy Drew but in ancient Rome.

She also told us about a formula for a hero: You, plus character, plus Achilles’ heel.

She told us to think of a hero: put together your name with a character name. First was Milly Tin Tin. Second was Dave Hiccup. I thought of Milo Who.

Next she said your main person is really the hero like Wall-E or Dr Gru, or maybe Dorothy, Luke Skywalker, Carl from Up!, Frodo Baggins or Harry Potter.

After that we moved onto Caroline’s hero’s weak spot – the main character in her book, Flavia, is impulsive and doesn’t look first.

Tip two: every hero needs a faithful sidekick.

Tip three: your story always needs a funny character and if you want, your sidekick can be your funny one, like Ron from Harry Potter.

The funny ones should make you laugh when things get tense.

Tip four: in your book you need to have a wild one who helps the hero, but can sometimes betray the hero, like Lupus.

Tip five: the mentor often has a beard. The mentor basically gives them the talisman (helpful tip: like an idea, steal it, that’s what a writer does!)

Another tip: clues – the best clue is an object.

Then she told us what a sponge on a stick was used for in Ancient Rome: it was for wiping your bum. That inspired her to do the Sewer Demon.

Last she asked us: does the hero always have to win? No, it can just lead to tragedy if you want to.

She also said writing books is the best job in the world. So if you don’t write books then check it out because it’s awesome!

She said we could ask her questions at

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