Q&A with Cressida 'How to Train your Dragon' Cowell - ANSWERS BACK

(71 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 29-Feb-12 11:15:48

In the second of our author Q&As in the lead up to World Book Day, we're inviting you to send in your questions to Cressida Cowell. Cressida has written and illustrated nine books in the popular Hiccup series which is now published in over 30 languages. Cressida lives in London with her husband Simon Cowell wink and their three children.

Send your question or your dc's question to Cressida before 5pm on Friday 2 March and the authors of the ten questions Cressida answers will each receive a signed copy of How to Steal a Dragon's Sword.

Sneezeblossom Wed 29-Feb-12 12:53:47

Hi Cressida, will you put more strong female characters like astrid in your future books?

Hi Cressida, firstly well done on your success!!
I am working in Y3 at a school who is using 'How To Train Your Dragon' as its theme for the Brighton Children's parade. They have been asked to think how toothless and hiccup would feel walking through crowds of children and portray that in the way they move in the parade.
Could you possible give them some suggestions in to your personal portrayal of those characters?
After seeing their reactions to the theme being chosen, i'm sure they would be so pleased to hear your own thoughts on how they should portray it.

wonderfultykes Wed 29-Feb-12 13:56:40

We love Big Boobied Bertha and Kamikazee; please, tell us a bit more about Valhallarama...How does the reluctant viking heir of the Hairy Hooligan Tribe engage with Mum, (or the memory of her flitting past Berk mid-raid)?

nameuschangeus Wed 29-Feb-12 17:43:28

I am really interested to know what made you choose Vikings as characters for your books. Did you have a long term interest/obsession and start out thinking 'ok, Viking novel' and write around that, or did you have the general idea for the characters and just discover over time that they would make great Vikings?!

Tmesis Wed 29-Feb-12 17:50:13

DS (7) would like to ask:

Will you write any more Hiccup books? And if you will then what are their titles? Why doesn't Snotface Snotlout like Hiccup?

And DH (rather older than 7) has a theory after reading HTSADS that you are dropping hints that the Hiccup-in-the-film is an ancestor of Hiccup-in-the-books and so the two can be retconned to coexist in the same fictional universe. Is he right or is he overthinking this just a little?

I would just like to thank you for creating Camicazi, who is an inspiration to DD1. Well, most of the time I'd like to thank you. Just occasionally she may be a little over-inspired...

Slaymill Wed 29-Feb-12 18:16:53

hello Cressida

Thank you for doing this webchat you obviously have a rich resource of childhood memories and adventures to draw upon when writing your books.

Many adults enjoy your books in the same way as JKRowling crossed over. Grown up men in my family love Train your Dragon books while the women love Emily Brown. ( the children are obvious fans too )

My question is will you do a JKRowling and write an adult book ?

Avoc Wed 29-Feb-12 20:40:54

Hello Cressida.

DS1 (6) wants to know how Alvin kept on not getting killed when he did far more dangerous things than swordfighting on the stairs.

And thank you for writing the books - and we love the David Tennant CDs (DS1 will be Alvin the Treacherous tomorrow on World Book Day and DS2 will be Fishlegs)

archfiend Wed 29-Feb-12 20:59:15

Hello,
DD (7) loves the books and wanted to ask how you came up with Dragonese - she is currently spending quite a lot of time talking to us in it so we are learning it too!

Fishlegs Wed 29-Feb-12 21:51:00

Hi Cressida, I've been reading your books to my 5 yr old ds, he loves them. We read them in order and have recently finished How to Steal A Dragon's Sword. He can't wait for the ?final instalment.

The books read well chronologically, with references back to the previous books, and we loved how the King's Things were all stuff that Hiccup had seemingly accidentally picked up over the series. How much was this planned out from the start? For example was the Slavemark always intended to be revealed at such a crucial point several books later?

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 29-Feb-12 22:32:16

Not really a question, I suppose, but we are all so looking forward to the next book! Will you have a reconciliation like The Other Wind or will there be an extinction?

I like Tmesis's DH's idea. Is Hiccup of the film the earlier Hiccup (I or II?) who made friends with dragons?

DS1, DS2 and I saw you at the Southbank Centre and we all greatly enjoyed seeing and listening to you. smile

aristocat Thu 01-Mar-12 08:24:48

Love your Dragon books here too, did you like the film that was made? Was it how you 'saw' your characters?

Codandchops Thu 01-Mar-12 08:31:13

Not a question just praise, we loved How to Train Your Dragon in this house. My son who is autistic LOVES the audio version read by David Tennant. We especially love how shallow the dragons are in the "will we or won't we stay with our masters" bits. Fabulous book and we are planning to read more of the dragon books.

And have seen at least two Hiccups going into school for World Book Day today grin

trifling Thu 01-Mar-12 09:52:45

We're big fans of most of the books. But we (parents) hate the name Big-Boobied Bertha. Do you ever wonder about encouraging kids to use names like that? I'm not alone in finding it offensive and unpleasant - I really don't like reading it out.

LilyBolero Thu 01-Mar-12 10:39:10

Hi Cressida,

I wanted to ask you about encouraging children's writing - dd (8) is an avid writer - it's not so much encouraging her to write, as not being able to stop her writing (along with reading) - we constantly find little paper books she has made (she staples together paper and then writes books and illustrates them) - and her writing is wonderful to read. We have a real collection of 'books' now!!

Do you have any suggestions for further ways of developing her writing? She writes about anything - mostly imaginative stories, but often reports on something they're doing in class etc, poetry, plays....

Thanks! PS We met you at the Bath Childrens' Literature Festival - (I'm sure you won't remember, but dd told you about how she and ds1 'play' Hiccup in the playground, and she always takes the part of Toothless!) - they are still talking about what a fantastic talk it was, and often quote things you said, especially about the island and the funny looking fish!

Mashford01 Thu 01-Mar-12 11:11:11

Hi

My seven year old son and myself were wondering what your favourite books were as a child? One of his is "The Hobbit". Did this book have any influence over your dragon theme or fantasy writings?
Thanks, looking forward to the next book!

snigger Thu 01-Mar-12 11:17:32

Hi Cressida,

On behalf of DD1 (11) and DD2 (9) I am instructed to first give you a hug, but not an embarrassing one. Hope that worked, or I'm in for it.

They then require that I chastise you for naming a character Tuffnut - their father has now used the name Tuffnutz in what I hope is a cap-doffing rather than sarcastic manner as part of his email address, and they're, frankly, mortified.

Finally, and here I quote them verbatim because 'It needs to be asked nicely' -

"When we think of dragons we think they are more Chinese because there are a lot of dragons there and we get told about them a lot - were you already interested in Vikings and longships and the dragons on them, is that why you made your book more Vikingy. Were the Vikings really that into dragons?"

Sorry about the 'vikingy', I'm just the typist here.

Thanks for the books, they're loved!

florenceuk Thu 01-Mar-12 14:15:01

Hi Cressida, both my kids (10 and 7) and I have really enjoyed your books. We are all on tenterhooks to read the last one but a bit apprehensive given the foreshadowing of an end to dragons shock. When can we expect the next and last installment (and will that really be the end?)

And as a bonus question, I vaguely remember Fishlegs was meant to have been brought up by a dragon but can't remember where I read it - which book is this in?

richmal Thu 01-Mar-12 17:22:58

dd(8) would like to ask:
How did Hiccup learn to speak dragonese?
She loves the books and would love to be friends with Hiccup, Camacazi and Fishlegs.

birdsofshoreandsea Thu 01-Mar-12 18:11:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

trice Thu 01-Mar-12 18:30:04

Hi Cressida. My ds did a school project on you as his favourite author. I was very envious of the idea of spending childhood summers on your own scottish island. Was it actually idyllic or were you bored stiff and desparate to return to civilization? Do you think all that freedom from distraction helped your imagination develop?

LineRunner Thu 01-Mar-12 18:48:26

Hello Cressida

My DS has asked:

How do you generate your characters' names?

DiaryofaSleepDeprivedMum Thu 01-Mar-12 19:44:40

Hello Cressida,

How timely is this opportunity?! My 7 year-old son, Caleb, is (and I'm not exaggerating here) obsessed with your books. He scrutinises the maps of Berk and the surrounding islands and your World Book Day edition inspired his first solo nocturnal reading session last night, so thank you!

Our question would be who or what inspired the wonderfully drawn character, Toothless? (I have to admit, there are times when I am reminded of my own son when reading about this mischievous little dragon, so it's unsurprising that Toothless is one of his favourite characters!)

stealthsquiggle Thu 01-Mar-12 19:58:50

DS(9) is a huge fan, and so is his cuddly dragon, who often cites Toothless as proof that she is marginally less stroppy angelic by comparison. Having run out of HTTYD books (we had the last one on pre-order for months) they have now both moved on to Temeraire, who is also pleasingly stroppy. Who are your favourite literary dragons?

I may be back with another question when DS gets home - I suspect the dragon's questions would all be about boy-training, and directed to her hero Toothless.

nenevomito Thu 01-Mar-12 21:17:12

Ahh Cressida. We don't know each other, but I both love you and could cry because of you in equal measure.

My DS has ASD and his specialist subject is dragons. All I hear about is dragons, all DS draws is dragons, DH and I are reading through the books at night as he snuggles down with the cuddly Toothless that one of my friends made for him, but its a stop-start affair as he interrupts frequently with either a fact or random question about dragons.

Oh yes, he loves dragons and while I'd say that I am just a hairsbreadth away from going slightly insane at the thought of yet another conversation about the dragons from How to Train Your Dragon, all is redeemed as it also gives me a way of bribing him or rewarding him, and for that I am grateful.

DS's main topic is which dragons could win a fight with another dragon under what circumstances - so if I could have the definitive answer to the following that would be great.

How can a Gronkle win a fight against a Monstrous Nightmare?

Please let me know and make a small boy very happy.

Hamandcookies Thu 01-Mar-12 21:41:12

My son (7) is currently ploughing his way through the series, and would love to know:

Which is your favourite dragon (and why)?

and

Of the books you have written, which is your favourite (and why)?

Lindor Fri 02-Mar-12 00:44:39

Hi Cressida,
we love your stories. your characters' names paint a picture and are refreshingly different to most other stories. I have to put in a vote for Big-Boobied-Bertha. It is a magnificent name, and always brings a smile to the face.

Thank you for making us laugh

xxx

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 02-Mar-12 06:45:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

scottishmummy Fri 02-Mar-12 08:14:52

q: what do you hope the children get from reading the books

we love your books and read them in a camped up gruff Scottish accent. love it!

stealthsquiggle Fri 02-Mar-12 09:42:32

Nothing wrong with Big Boobied Bertha at all, IMO.

I checked with DS - he too wants to know about your favourite dragons (so the question I asked before). His dragon (one of ~40 he owns, but definitely the dominant one!) says that's a silly question because clearly small cuddly red hand puppet dragons are the best (with Toothless a close second, and Stormfly third).

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 02-Mar-12 10:05:10

<< hijack >>

I'm curious as to where people get all their dragons. We have all kinds of real and made-up cuddly toys, but no dragons. Most remiss of us.

stealthsquiggle Fri 02-Mar-12 10:17:24

LordCopper - they're not easy to come by. DS's bossy characterful dragon was made by Keel toys, but I have never seen another one - and although a quick google reveals a nice Toothless-from-the-film (as opposed to Toothless-from-the-book) cuddly toy, I can't find any of the ones we have - including one from The White Company, several baby dragons which came from the US, a Disney one (Mushu from Mulan), and a Universal Studios one. The only one I can find, in fact, is this one - one of the latest additions, who belongs to DD. DS also has mobiles, wooden dragons, a huge papier mache dragon which we made, dragon figurines, playmobil dragons........

mjhubba Fri 02-Mar-12 10:22:36

Hello Cressida. We know you can train dragons but do you have any tips for training a Tory Councillor?! As an author I'm sure you love and appreciate our local libraries and are worried about how many of them are faced with closure? I am campaigning to save the Upper Norwood Joint Library in Crystal Palace, London SE19. What would be your message to councils who are threatening to withdraw their funding? How important do you think libraries are for children? Any comments very gratefully received and appreciated.
Best wishes Michelle

scottishmummy Fri 02-Mar-12 10:30:20

next book should be how to train your weans (the wee tumshies are rowdy)

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 02-Mar-12 10:37:52

Thank you Stealth. DS2's birthday coming up but even I who advocate only-b'day-boy-gets-present wouldn't dare to only get one ...

Slur Fri 02-Mar-12 12:58:03

Thank you so very much for your fab stories, we're reading How to be a Pirate atm and Emily Brown is one of our favourite books, you've brought a lot of giggling and pleading for "just one more chapter!" to our home.

My children adore Toothless and he has them in stitches, when I read Toothless he is distinctly and shamefully stereotypically Mexican. :blush: So my question is what accent did Toothless have when you imagined him?

My son (5) asks: "Are there any real life dragons? Have you ever found bones that might be a dragons?"

DD (7) spends lots of time writing stories and illustrating them and wants to be an author when she grows up. She'd wondered if you had any tips for her.

Thank you again!

MadameCholetWasMyFavourite Fri 02-Mar-12 13:19:40

Hello Cressida,

Another big thank you here from a mother of a DD (11) with the career aspiration of dragonologist. You have managed to tap into exactly the level of information and wit which has kept my daughter enchanted from the very first book and the subsequent monthly re-reads of the whole series(and you are the only author I have ever pre-ordered from Amazon).
I asked her what she would like to ask you and she rattled off a list, however, the two that she was most adamant about are: How old is toothless? this is to settle a debate with equally dragon mad best friend and also, how do you feel about the film portrayal of Toothless (physically) being so different from your descriptions and illustrations? (she phrased it a bit differently). p.s. my favourite is Horrorcow!

LottieJenkins Fri 02-Mar-12 15:39:46

Hello Cressida. My friends son has read all your books and loves them. He wants to know what kind of Nanodragon was Zigstar (the nanodragon in "How to speak Dragonese")

roisin Sat 03-Mar-12 03:54:40

I just wanted to thank you for your great books, and also for the time you spent chatting to my son and signing his books at the Hay Festival a few years (maybe 3?) ago. He's not the keenest of readers, but your influence has encouraged him to read more and more often. Last time we were sailing off Mull we waved at your island!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 04-Mar-12 22:51:48

The Q&A is now closed and we've sent a selection of questions over to Cressida. The archived Q&A will be live next week, when we'll announce the winners of the ten signed books.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:31:14

Cressida's answers are now back. You can read the full Q&A here:

Cressida Cowell Q&A

The authors of the ten questions she answered on the Q&A will each receive a signed copy of How to Steal a Dragon's Sword.

However....such was Cressida's joy at answering your questions, she also commented on a number of other questions and we're going to post her comments on this thread now. We'll be in touch with the ten winners by pm later this evening.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:37:17

Sneezeblossom

Hi Cressida, will you put more strong female characters like astrid in your future books?

Cressida says:

The problem is I I already HAVE so many characters! It gets a little confusing. Valhallarama will appear, but I have meant to put Snotlout's little sister Adelaide in so many of the books, but there is no room.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:38:11

northernmonkey

Hi Cressida, firstly well done on your success!!
I am working in Y3 at a school who is using 'How To Train Your Dragon' as its theme for the Brighton Children's parade. They have been asked to think how toothless and hiccup would feel walking through crowds of children and portray that in the way they move in the parade.
Could you possible give them some suggestions in to your personal portrayal of those characters?
After seeing their reactions to the theme being chosen, i'm sure they would be so pleased to hear your own thoughts on how they should portray it.

Cressida says:

Toothless would be absolutely DELIGHTED at all the attention, and Hiccup would feel a little embarrassed at the idea that anyone might be looking at him. SO, SO much luck with the parade! I feel very proud that How to Train Your Dragon was the theme chosen.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:40:20

wonderfultykes

We love Big Boobied Bertha and Kamikazee; please, tell us a bit more about Valhallarama...How does the reluctant viking heir of the Hairy Hooligan Tribe engage with Mum, (or the memory of her flitting past Berk mid-raid)?

Cressida says:

I love Bertha and Camicazi too. Um…this is supposed to be a secret, but I’m terrible at keeping secrets. Valhallarama MAY feature rather heavily in the next book…

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:42:09

nameuschangeus

I am really interested to know what made you choose Vikings as characters for your books. Did you have a long term interest/obsession and start out thinking 'ok, Viking novel' and write around that, or did you have the general idea for the characters and just discover over time that they would make great Vikings?!

Cressida says:

I do have a long-standing interest in Vikings, and the book was inspired by the time I spent on this little island in the Inner Hebrides when I was a child (check out my website, www.cressidacowell.co.uk. You can really feel the history of the Viking invasions in that part of the world. It was integral to the characters that they were Vikings, and it made it particularly poignant that Hiccup was having to live up to such an exaggerated idea of ‘manhood’.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:43:37

Tmesis

DS (7) would like to ask:

Will you write any more Hiccup books? And if you will then what are their titles? Why doesn't Snotface Snotlout like Hiccup?

And DH (rather older than 7) has a theory after reading HTSADS that you are dropping hints that the Hiccup-in-the-film is an ancestor of Hiccup-in-the-books and so the two can be retconned to coexist in the same fictional universe. Is he right or is he overthinking this just a little?

I would just like to thank you for creating Camicazi, who is an inspiration to DD1. Well, most of the time I'd like to thank you. Just occasionally she may be a little over-inspired...

Cressida says:

I will write at least 2 more Hiccup books. I can’t finish the story in this next book, either…The next book will be called How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel.

DH’s thought is an interesting one…

Sorry about Camicazi and DD1. Camicazi was inspired by my own daughters, now aged 13 and 11. They’re not as good at sword-fighting as Camicazi, but every bit as chatty.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:44:41

Avoc

Hello Cressida.

DS1 (6) wants to know how Alvin kept on not getting killed when he did far more dangerous things than swordfighting on the stairs.

And thank you for writing the books - and we love the David Tennant CDs (DS1 will be Alvin the Treacherous tomorrow on World Book Day and DS2 will be Fishlegs)

Cressida says:

Alvin the Treacherous is horribly, horribly lucky, isn’t he? And he has a sort of evil tenacity that keeps him safe.

I absolutely love the David Tennant CDs, he is the most wonderful actor. DS1 as Alvin, well, that would be quite something, and Fishlegs is one of my favourite characters…My family tell me I am most like Fishlegs.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:46:17

UptoapointLordCopper

Not really a question, I suppose, but we are all so looking forward to the next book! Will you have a reconciliation like The Other Wind or will there be an extinction?

I like Tmesis's DH's idea. Is Hiccup of the film the earlier Hiccup (I or II?) who made friends with dragons?

DS1, DS2 and I saw you at the Southbank Centre and we all greatly enjoyed seeing and listening to you. smile

Cressida says:

Can’t tell you about whether there’ll be a reconciliation, or not, I’m afraid! That would be giving too much away.

I’m so glad you enjoyed the event at the South Bank, I really enjoyed it too, you’re working away on your own so much, and it’s lovely to see that the books are meaning something to people.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:47:30

aristocat

Love your Dragon books here too, did you like the film that was made? Was it how you 'saw' your characters?

Cressida says:

I absolutely loved the film. Books and films are very different mediums, so I was more concerned about whether or not it was a good film.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:48:18

Codandchops

Not a question just praise, we loved How to Train Your Dragon in this house. My son who is autistic LOVES the audio version read by David Tennant. We especially love how shallow the dragons are in the "will we or won't we stay with our masters" bits. Fabulous book and we are planning to read more of the dragon books.

And have seen at least two Hiccups going into school for World Book Day today grin

Cressida says:

I am so pleased your son loves the David Tennant audio version, he is absolutely brilliant, David, isn’t he? Glad to hear Hiccup is featuring in World Book Day, and people have been writing in saying their children are going as Fishlegs, Alvin and the Witch Excellinor, too!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:49:17

trifling

We're big fans of most of the books. But we (parents) hate the name Big-Boobied Bertha. Do you ever wonder about encouraging kids to use names like that? I'm not alone in finding it offensive and unpleasant - I really don't like reading it out.

Cressida says:

But not all parents agree, see comments from Lindor and Stealthsquiggle below.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:50:02

LilyBolero

Hi Cressida,

I wanted to ask you about encouraging children's writing - dd (8) is an avid writer - it's not so much encouraging her to write, as not being able to stop her writing (along with reading) - we constantly find little paper books she has made (she staples together paper and then writes books and illustrates them) - and her writing is wonderful to read. We have a real collection of 'books' now!!

Do you have any suggestions for further ways of developing her writing? She writes about anything - mostly imaginative stories, but often reports on something they're doing in class etc, poetry, plays....

Thanks! PS We met you at the Bath Childrens' Literature Festival - (I'm sure you won't remember, but dd told you about how she and ds1 'play' Hiccup in the playground, and she always takes the part of Toothless!) - they are still talking about what a fantastic talk it was, and often quote things you said, especially about the island and the funny looking fish!

Cressida says:

Wow, it sounds like your daughter is doing absolutely the right things instinctively! I guess at this age, I would just be supporting her in her love of books, and reading. Reading as much and as widely as possible, and watching films, and plays, gives you a ‘feel’ for the way in which stories can be told.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:51:03

snigger

Hi Cressida,

On behalf of DD1 (11) and DD2 (9) I am instructed to first give you a hug, but not an embarrassing one. Hope that worked, or I'm in for it.

They then require that I chastise you for naming a character Tuffnut - their father has now used the name Tuffnutz in what I hope is a cap-doffing rather than sarcastic manner as part of his email address, and they're, frankly, mortified.

Finally, and here I quote them verbatim because 'It needs to be asked nicely' -

"When we think of dragons we think they are more Chinese because there are a lot of dragons there and we get told about them a lot - were you already interested in Vikings and longships and the dragons on them, is that why you made your book more Vikingy. Were the Vikings really that into dragons?"

Sorry about the 'vikingy', I'm just the typist here.

Thanks for the books, they're loved!

Cressida says:

Hello, I love hugs, and have never yet been embarrassed by one. Thank DD1 and DD2 for me, and tell them I hug them back.

I’m sorry about the ‘Tuffnut’, but the thing is, DD1 and DD2, it is a Parent’s Duty to embarrass their children as much as possible, it’s just one of the things they teach you at Parent School, I’m afraid. If it wasn’t the ‘Tuffnut’, it would just be something else.

I love Chinese dragons, but I was already interested in Vikings – check out my website on www.cressidacowell.co.uk, for the Viking inspiration…

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:55:29

florenceuk

Hi Cressida, both my kids (10 and 7) and I have really enjoyed your books. We are all on tenterhooks to read the last one but a bit apprehensive given the foreshadowing of an end to dragons shock. When can we expect the next and last installment (and will that really be the end?)

And as a bonus question, I vaguely remember Fishlegs was meant to have been brought up by a dragon but can't remember where I read it - which book is this in?

Cressida says (in answer to your bonus question):

Fishlegs WAS brought up by a dragon, and I can’t remember which book I put that in either – He was found on the Long Beach as a baby, washed up on the tide in his lobster pot. The Hooligan Tribe was obliged to take him in, because he had survived by the will of the gods, but ‘runts’ are bad luck so no-one would have him under their roof. So he was put in a little hut all on his own, poor Fishlegs, fed by the Tribe, of course. A Long-Eared Caretaker dragon was put in charge of him as a sort of ‘nanny’ to stop him rolling into the fire, etc, because after all, he was only a baby.

HAVE I written that in any of the books? I’m not sure. It may have been a bit long, so I took it out. There’s quite a lot of information that doesn’t go in because of length problems.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:56:14

richmal

dd(8) would like to ask:
How did Hiccup learn to speak dragonese?
She loves the books and would love to be friends with Hiccup, Camacazi and Fishlegs.

Cressida says:

I would say, Hiccup spent long, long hours dragon-watching to learn the language. But it is also, to quote the film Dr Zhivago, ?a gift.?

I feel that Hiccup, Camicazi and Fishlegs ARE my friends, they have taken on a life of their own.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:57:13

birdsofshoreandsea

Hello Cressida, ds (age 8) would like to ask if you believe dragons are real. He wants to know, he says, because he believes in them, but lots of people don't.

Cressida says:

Well, ds(8), we don’t know everything about this wild and wonderful world of ours, so why should dragons not be true?

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:58:12

LineRunner

Hello Cressida

My DS has asked:

How do you generate your characters' names?

Cressida says:

Hello to your ds, and I call the characters names that sound like the character they are describing: DOGSBREATH THE DUHBRAIN, is a good example.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 17:59:19

stealthsquiggle

DS(9) is a huge fan, and so is his cuddly dragon, who often cites Toothless as proof that she is marginally less stroppy angelic by comparison. Having run out of HTTYD books (we had the last one on pre-order for months) they have now both moved on to Temeraire, who is also pleasingly stroppy. Who are your favourite literary dragons?

I may be back with another question when DS gets home - I suspect the dragon's questions would all be about boy-training, and directed to her hero Toothless.

Cressida says:

Well, I am glad DS?s dragon is slightly less stroppy than Toothless. My favourite literary dragons were those wonderful grand talking scary ones from ?The Farthest Shore? by Ursula le Guin.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 18:02:14

Lindor

Hi Cressida,
we love your stories. your characters' names paint a picture and are refreshingly different to most other stories. I have to put in a vote for Big-Boobied-Bertha. It is a magnificent name, and always brings a smile to the face.

Cressida says:

Thank you for making us laugh

xxx

I am so glad the stories have made you laugh, and xxxxx to you too!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 18:03:23

StewieGriffinsMom

I have no real questions. I just wanted to say how much my children love your books.

Cressida says:

I am so glad your children love my books, and thank you for telling me, it makes all the hard work worthwhile!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 18:04:01

stealthsquiggle

DS(9) is a huge fan, and so is his cuddly dragon, who often cites Toothless as proof that she is marginally less stroppy angelic by comparison. Having run out of HTTYD books (we had the last one on pre-order for months) they have now both moved on to Temeraire, who is also pleasingly stroppy. Who are your favourite literary dragons?

I may be back with another question when DS gets home - I suspect the dragon's questions would all be about boy-training, and directed to her hero Toothless.

Cressida says:

small-cuddly-red-hand-puppet-dragons-rule-ok, I’m not going to argue with that. Particularly if he’s armed with a small-cuddly-red-hand-puppet-dragon, those things are DANGEROUS.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 18:04:46

mjhubba

Hello Cressida. We know you can train dragons but do you have any tips for training a Tory Councillor?! As an author I'm sure you love and appreciate our local libraries and are worried about how many of them are faced with closure? I am campaigning to save the Upper Norwood Joint Library in Crystal Palace, London SE19. What would be your message to councils who are threatening to withdraw their funding? How important do you think libraries are for children? Any comments very gratefully received and appreciated.
Best wishes Michelle

Cressida says:

How are children whose parents cannot afford large numbers of books going to be able to develop reading for pleasure, if they do not have access to a proper, well-stocked, library?

Children need libraries, well-stocked libraries. Children need the specialised knowledge of librarians.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 18:06:13

Slur

Thank you so very much for your fab stories, we're reading How to be a Pirate atm and Emily Brown is one of our favourite books, you've brought a lot of giggling and pleading for "just one more chapter!" to our home.

My children adore Toothless and he has them in stitches, when I read Toothless he is distinctly and shamefully stereotypically Mexican. :blush: So my question is what accent did Toothless have when you imagined him?

My son (5) asks: "Are there any real life dragons? Have you ever found bones that might be a dragons?"

DD (7) spends lots of time writing stories and illustrating them and wants to be an author when she grows up. She'd wondered if you had any tips for her.

Thank you again!

Cressida says:

I don’t like to say what I imagined about Toothless’s accent because I think that might be too bossy…I’d love to hear how you do him with a Mexican accent!
I have found bones that might be dragons….I would advise your DD to read LOTS if she wants to be an author, so she gets a feel for the way stories can be told.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 18:07:53

MadameCholetWasMyFavourite

Hello Cressida,

Another big thank you here from a mother of a DD (11) with the career aspiration of dragonologist. You have managed to tap into exactly the level of information and wit which has kept my daughter enchanted from the very first book and the subsequent monthly re-reads of the whole series(and you are the only author I have ever pre-ordered from Amazon).
I asked her what she would like to ask you and she rattled off a list, however, the two that she was most adamant about are: How old is toothless? this is to settle a debate with equally dragon mad best friend and also, how do you feel about the film portrayal of Toothless (physically) being so different from your descriptions and illustrations? (she phrased it a bit differently). p.s. my favourite is Horrorcow!

Cressida says:

Toothless is very young (for a dragon) at the moment – it’s difficult to say precisely how young, because dragons grow very, very slowly, and they live much much longer than humans (ie thousands of years). So in dragon years he is sort of pre-school age, but he could be a lot older in human years.
I liked the film portrayal of Toothless – films and books are different things.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 18:08:40

LottieJenkins

Hello Cressida. My friends son has read all your books and loves them. He wants to know what kind of Nanodragon was Zigstar (the nanodragon in "How to speak Dragonese")

Cressida says:

Ziggerastica is a Golden Imperiorbeetle.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 18:09:32

roisin

I just wanted to thank you for your great books, and also for the time you spent chatting to my son and signing his books at the Hay Festival a few years (maybe 3?) ago. He's not the keenest of readers, but your influence has encouraged him to read more and more often. Last time we were sailing off Mull we waved at your island!

Cressida says:

I’m so glad your son loves the books! I love Mull…

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 18:10:24

That's all folks. Once again you can read the full Q&A here;

Cressida Cowell Q&A

nenevomito Wed 14-Mar-12 13:31:24

I just want to pass on my thanks to Cressida for answering my question, its made my day as I know DS will be absolutely thrilled as the answer really speaks to him on his level.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

stealthsquiggle Wed 14-Mar-12 16:34:58

I am SO impressed that Cressida answered pretty much every post. DS's dragon is now crowing to anyone who will listen that Cressida, who is an expert dontcha know, says that she (small red cuddly hand puppet dragon) "rocks" and that she is "dangerous" grin.

Please pass on my thanks to Cressida, the children at school will be AMAZED when I give them the reply.
Many many thanks smile

archfiend Wed 14-Mar-12 18:53:43

More thanks here-dd so thrilled to know her question was read and answered! smile

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