Author Visit with DR Mandy Hartley on 11th June 2024

Dr Mandy Hartley came to talk to the juniors about her writing journey. She brought with her, her latest book which was hot off the press 2 days ago. This was exciting because it is a new series of books for the children to enjoy.

We learnt that they are based on her own children, Anabelle and Harry and the funny things they get up to. We thought about if we could identify with the personalities of the characters in the text.

Mandy told us that she did not like writing at school as she felt she wasn’t good enough; she then showed the children an enormous book she had written for her PHD. We were all very impressed. From this, she learnt how her scientific report writing and her sentences had to be clear and accurate. Next, she told us how she had worked with DNA through her careers – using it to solve crimes- and then used these experiences to write her books. We talked about how DNA is like a set of instructions inside to make us who we are- and how her books all used her knowledge of DNA to solve mysteries.

Mandy told us she wanted to write books to inspire children in writing, reading and science. She liked being able to reach children all around the world through her books. Sometimes she has ideas when walking the dog, or as she is falling asleep and she is always keen to write them down in a notebook, before she forgets them. She likes to make maps to visualise the settings of her stories. We learnt that it is important to use our senses when writing stories, to create an image in the reader’s mind.

A folding light box wowed the children and Mandy said that’s the reaction we want people to have when they open our book.

The children really enjoyed the talk. They gave lots of ideas when they were helping Dr Hartley write part of her next chapter and asked a range of interesting questions about being an author.