Action, adventure and a closer look at acceptance and teamwork with Dermot O’Leary

Primary Times speaks with broadcaster and bestselling author, Dermot O’Leary, about the release of his new children’s book, ‘Wings of Glory’.

Known for presenting on the radio and on the daytime television programme This Morning, Dermot also penned the five books in the fabulous Toto the Ninja Cat series.

Dermot’s exciting new title, perfect for readers aged around 7-9, is an action-adventure story set during the Second World War. Accompanied by the wonderful, eye-catching illustrations, Dermot tells the tale of the caring and courageous Linus as he embarks upon a dangerous journey. This heart-warming story is sure to be enjoyed by both animal and history-lovers alike! We asked Dermot a few questions to get his thoughts on the book and to find out more about ‘Wings of Glory’...

Where did the idea for the story come from?
I love writing about animals and, writing the Toto books, I’ve loved creating a different, alternative world or universe. I also love history and a period of history that’s always been my favourite has been the Second World War, so it felt like the two married together quite well. I had several different story ideas I wanted to explore and this is the one that’s come to fruition first!

Who are your favourite characters in ‘Wings of Glory’ and why?
Obviously I love writing for the leads but I love the peripheral characters as well, even if they come in for just one scene or so. I would probably say my favourite is Atticus the goshawk because I love his worldly-wise mentorship and he’s got a good sense of humour.

What was your favourite part of writing the book and exploring its themes?
I love all the stages of writing! I love that whole arc of coming up with an idea, chapter planning and then seeing where it takes you. Sometimes you can just go down a rabbit hole and it can take you somewhere else. I also wanted to be truthful to the backdrop of the Battle of Britain as well.

Are there any messages that you’d like children and families to take away from the book?
It’s important to pay homage to the men and women of all different countries that came to the Allies’ aid in the Second World War so I definitely wanted to do that. I wanted to make sure it’s a book largely about acceptance, coming together and working as a team.

Do you think that ‘Wings of Glory’ might spark an interest in history for some young readers?
I think young readers are really up on history with the incredible work that the likes of Horrible Histories has done. In my experience, I think kids love history.

Will there be another story about Linus or are there any new ideas in the pipeline to keep an eye out for?
Yes, there will be more stories coming very soon. I’m pretty much putting pen to paper when the autumn starts so definitely watch this space!

‘Wings of Glory’ by Dermot O’Leary and illustrated by Claire Powell is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books within Hachette UK.

Photo credit © Sofi Adams

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