Elias: Hello, Darren. Welcome to Elias Zapple Interviews...
Darren: I'm so honoured to be interviewed by you that I think I may start to cry.
Elias: I understand that you have two children and that one of them, your daughter Ellie, was the inspiration behind The Seren Trilogy. I myself was inspired to write Jellybean the Dragon due to my late pet slug, Steve - which made all my other slugs supremely jealous and demanding that I write books for them too. Do you find yourself in a similar pickle? Will you be writing a book for your other child as well?
Darren: Firstly I’m very sorry to hear about the passing of your slug, Steve and it is a shame that the others would feel how they do BUT I think they have a point, if I was a slug and knew that Steve had inspired a book I might start to think “Am I not good enough?” “Do I not have enough inherent slugness?”
So even though in a very small way my youngest is introduced into the books I can imagine a fair amount of sibling rivalry as the years progress and I think I had better start on some outlines now!
Elias: The Seren Trilogy promotes the helping of others. Shouldn't it also promote the throwing of cabbages?
Darren: Although cabbages do make fine throwing objects the creatures we are dealing with would either eat them or sling them with enough force to go through a wall so I think the health and safety issues override any want for lobbing cabbages about.
Elias: You have a book called Ellie and the Dragon. I have a book called Jellybean the Dragon. In a battle, who would win between our respective dragons?
Darren: Hmm, my dragon can be a bit of a softy but he is extremely loyal and brave and would only fight if protecting his loved ones. That said, mine.
Elias: Will your next book be entitled 'Ellie and the Slug'?
Darren: If only! Slug society is so complex and involving I don’t possess the writing skills as yet to take on such a task instead I shall be committing myself to Ellie’s adventures when she encounters a witch.
Elias: In Ellie and the Rabbits, Ellie meets some talking rabbits. Are you aware of the evil, disgruntled rabbit in 'Ado in the Meadow' by Mary Danino? What are your rabbits like?
Darren: I’ve seen that rabbit and it looks very mean and though some of my rabbits can be abrasive and a bit distrustful of Ellie at first they show their true side when she helps them.
Elias: You have another book, a book of poems, called 'I Think I Lost My Bottom'. Did you indeed lose it? How does one lose a bottom? I once thought I had lost a slug until I found it stuck to my shoe.
Darren: I’m very glad to say it was not my bottom that was lost but a close personal friend. They told me of their experience of waking up and just not being able to get their trousers to stay on, in short they had a very unhappy bottom so please everyone keep your bottom happy. Slugs in my experience like to stick to my windows so they can watch TV.
Elias: Does living in Norfolk inspire you in your writing? If so, is it down to the Coleman's Mustard?
Darren: The countryside is gorgeous and perfect for writing about. The setting for The Seren Trilogy is very close to our home near the coast and a summer’s walk through Sheringham Parkl ed to the grand ending in Ellie and the Battle.
As for mustard? No. I’m a turkey man, it’s why I moved here, I love turkeys but not as much as rabbits.
Elias: How much of your childhood in Wales comes through in your books. My time in Maputo shines through in my work.
Darren: I honestly have to say not that much. As my ambition was for my daughter to be able to recognise the places, people etc in the book then I have based it on what she knows and loves about living here in Norfolk. That said a couple of the rabbit characters are definitely based on teachers I knew from school. One in particular, Cast, who is the magic keeper for the rabbits is based on my Headmaster Mr Thomas who I remember as a lovely man.
Elias: Do you encourage your children to eat their cabbages?
Darren: With my son I’m lucky as he’s not on his solids yet and that’s a battle I will face with dignity and restraint when the time comes. My daughter however is adverse to any form of vegetable when served at home. If she has it at school then it goes down a treat so I think she’s plotting, scheming and devising a grand master plan that I assume will come to fruition in its own good time.
Elias: What are your main literary ambitions, Darren? Is it to become the next Elias Zapple?
Darren: I can only dream about attaining such magnificent moustachioed greatness, I hope one day to be able to inspire slugs and teach my children to throw cabbages. For the present I write and write, for the future I hope I continue to love it as much as I do now.
Elias: Thank you, Daren. May you one day achieve a moustache like yours truly. Unlikely, though.
The Seren Trilogy
ELLIE AND THE RABBITS
Our world is home to a very special animal.
It can walk, talk, think and feel.
It has a purpose.
It has a duty.
And it's not human.
On a family picnic curiosity gets the better of Ellie and sends her on a magical adventure with her new friends, Rox, Cast and Plume. She learns of a great danger and the duty that must be performed and promises her help no matter what.
From a beautiful sunny day to the dark woods full of danger, to the home of these wonderful creatures and the birth of our world, Ellie will travel. Not only will she try save her new friends, but the world itself.
ELLIE AND THE DRAGON
The house stood silent.
Consumed by ivy the house stood derelict and abandoned.
Forgotten, it was slowly being reclaimed by nature.
No one could live there.
No one human.
A year after her adventure with the rabbits, Ellie uncovers a remarkable secret next door to her new house. This secret will bring her joy and happiness beyond her wildest dreams. Her actions come with a price, however, and Ellie realises that what she has discovered could wipe out all mankind.
Scared, but not alone, what will she do?
ELLIE AND THE BATTLE
The adventure that began in Ellie and the Rabbits reaches it's conclusion in Ellie and the Battle. The dragons are planning to wage war upon humanity. Never again will they be at the mercy of mankind. But first, they must contend with those that would stand in their way.
Ellie and Cole have been captured but Rox enters into the struggle in an attempt to rescue her friend, and the dragons realise they have a new enemy to deal with. War seems unavoidable, and Ellie must now risk everything she knows and loves to stop the future. Join Ellie, Cole and Rox in the final book of the Seren Trilogy. Join the fight.
My moustache is great, my slugs are great, my cabbages are great and Elias Zapple is meh.