Growing up, Dan Smith led three lives. In one he survived the day-to-day humdrum of boarding school, while in another he travelled the world, finding adventure in the padi-fields of South East Asia and the jungles of Brazil. But the third life he lived in a world of his own, making up stories . . . which is where some people say he still lives most of the time!
Now settled in Newcastle with his wife and two children, Dan writes stories to share with both adults and children.
Dan’s debut novel for younger readers, My Friend The Enemy, was long listed for the Branford Boase Award 2014, and his 2015 novel Big Game is based on a major movie starring Samuel L Jackson. His debut novel for adults, Dry Season, was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award 2011.
Recent titles for younger readers:
MY FRIEND THE ENEMY
Summer, 1941. For Peter, the war is a long way away, being fought by a faceless enemy, marching across places he’s never seen. Until the night it comes to him. A German plane is shot down over the woods that his Dad looked after, before he went off to fight. Peter rushes to the crash site to find something exciting to keep. But what he finds instead is someone: a young and injured German airman. The enemy. Here. And in trouble. Suddenly, helping him seems like the right thing to do.
MY BROTHER'S SECRET
Germany, 1941. 12-year-old Karl Engel is looking forward to joining the Hitler Youth, like all boys his age. But when his father is killed, his rebellious older brother Stefan shows him things that leave his faith in the Fuhrer shaken. What does it mean to be a good German? What does it mean to wear the mysterious flower sewn inside his brother’s jacket? Who is the real enemy?
13-year-old Oskari is sent into the cold wilderness on an ancient test of manhood. He must survive armed only with a bow and arrow. But instead, he stumbles upon an escape pod from a burning airliner: Air Force One. Terrorists have shot down the President of the United States. The boy hunter and the world’s most powerful man are suddenly the hunted, in a race against a deadly enemy.
Kidnapped and drugged, Ash wakes up on a remote tropical island. His mum – a genetic scientist – has been imprisoned and infected with a deadly virus. Where is he, and what’s he doing there? He sets out to cross the jungle to find out and rescue his mother. Soon he realises he’s quicker and sharper than before. But there’s something else …why are the animals watching him, and how can he use the jungle to his advantage?
Recent titles for adults:
THE CHILD THIEF
In the snow, death is not the coldest thing waiting for you…
From out of the whiteness, a dark figure comes…
December, 1930, Ukraine. After the horrors of war, Luka wants a quiet life with his family. His village has, so far, remained hidden from the advancing Soviet brutality – but everything changes the day a stranger arrives, pulling a sled bearing a terrible cargo: the bodies of two children. When the villagers’ fear turns deadly, they think they have saved themselves. And then a little girl vanishes.
Luka is the only man with the skills to find the stolen child in these frozen lands. And though his toughest enemy is the man he tracks through the harsh winter landscape, his strongest bond is a promise to his family back home…
Russia, 1920. Kolya has deserted his Red Army unit and returns home to bury his brother and reunite with his wife and sons. But he finds the village silent and empty. The men have been massacred in the forest. The women and children have disappeared.
In this remote, rural community the folk tales mothers tell their children by candlelight take on powerful significance and the terrifying legend of The Deathless One begins to feel very real. Kolya sets out on a journey through dense, haunting forests and across vast plains as bitter winter sets in, in the desperate hope he will find his family. But there are very dark things in his past – and there’s someone, or something, on his trail…
THE DARKEST HEART
‘There were times I felt I would always be death’s passenger. It moved one step ahead of me wherever I went, letting its shadow fall across me. It carried me on; shaded me from the world other people lived in.’
Leaving behind his life of violence in Brazil’s darkest shadows, Zico is determined to become a better man. But it seems his old life isn’t quite done with him yet when he’s tasked with making one last kill. It’s one that could get him everything he has ever wanted; a house, some land, cash in his pocket, a future for him and his girlfriend, Daniella. But this one isn’t like all the others. This one comes at a much higher price.
THE DARKEST HEART is a journey through the shadowy heart of Brazil and the even darker mind of a killer, where fear is a death sentence and the only chance of survival might mean abandoning the only good thing you’ve ever known.
I was very pleased and impressed with the course.