Aided and abetted by his madcap dad, and frequently bandaged by his mum, Andrew Beasley enjoyed the sort of adventurous childhood that makes Health and Safety Officers weep.

His greatest love, however, was always reading; normally by torchlight when he was meant to be asleep. Andrew began to write his own stories when he was five or six; they normally involved King Kong, Spiderman, James Bond or Doctor Who (and sometimes all four).

When Andrew was 16 he set up his own company, writing and producing Dungeons and Dragons style game scenarios. He still has a couple of thousand copies of The Night of the Wolf in his garage somewhere, if anyone is interested.

Andrew read Law at University, inspired by John Mortimer’s Rumpole books; forgetting the fact that Rumpole himself didn’t actually enjoy the day to day reality of the criminal justice system. After that Andrew worked for the family business, helping to rebuild his mum and dad’s fortunes after a disastrous deal left them homeless. All the while, he never gave up his own dreams of becoming a writer. His early work gained interested from agents in New York, spurring him on.

In his late twenties, having not quite left his reckless youth behind him, Andrew found himself paralyzed in one arm; the result of a very poor attempt at fence jumping on his part, and an equally botched operation. Naturally his response was to write a book about it (with one hand). Restored to full health, Andrew married his wife Julie a few years later and retrained as a teacher so that he could infect an entire generation of children with his love of reading and writing. His big break came when one of the children in his class turned out to be the son of the original commissioning editor of the Horrible Histories. That friendship ultimately opened the door for a publishing deal with Usborne.

Andrew’s first book for children, The Battles of Ben Kingdom: The Claws of Evil, was released in 2013 to great critical success. It gained 8 nominations for national and international awards, reaching five shortlists and even a Carnegie nomination. Andrew had since spoken at festivals and schools across the country and in Europe. The final book in the Ben Kingdom trilogy, The City of Fear, was released in August 2014. Andrew now has two children of his own and writes when the rest of the world is sleeping. He is currently working on a new series for Usborne. He smiles a lot.

The Battles of Ben Kingdom: The Claws of Evil

Welcome to Victorian London; the home of the Artful Dodger, Sherlock Holmes…and Ben Kingdom, cocky street urchin – and the saviour of mankind. Unknown to mere mortals, an ancient battle is being waged across the city. Below the streets lurk the Legion, an evil gang of miscreants and criminals in league with the monstrous Feathered Men – determined to unleash Hell on the streets of London. Above the city’s rooftops soar the Watchers, a ragtag band of orphans, mystics and spies, dedicated to protecting the vulnerable and guarding London against evil. Only Ben can put an end to this war – the only problem is, he doesn’t know which side to choose.


The Battles of Ben Kingdom: The Feast of Ravens

The year is 1892. The Legion have unleashed an ancient darkness on London, leaving crime and chaos in its wake. From their rooftop base, The Watchers fight to restore order – looking to Ben Kingdom for hope. But unbeknown to them, Ben is harbouring a deadly secret that could put them all in danger. As the Legion gather their forces for invasion, all they need for victory is the final Coin of blood. Ben knows that he could put an end to this battle, but on the darkest night of all – the Feast of Ravens – Ben’s secret could destroy everything. This is an action-packed adventure series that appeals to boys and girls, combining the timeless theme of good versus evil with steampunk gadgetry and free-running angels. Mortal Engines meets Oliver Twist for a new generation. This is the irresistible follow-up to The Claws of Evil.


The Battles of Ben Kingdom: The City of Fear

Victorian London is ruled by fear. The bloodthirsty Legion have captured the Queen and walled off the city, ushering in a reign of terror. Only Ben Kingdom and his motley band of rebels can stop them, but in the darkest pit of hell, evil creatures are stirring, ready to be called forth.

 

The training opened new doors and closed old doubts – an excellent and inspirational day.

- Andrew Beasley