Cressida Cowell is the author of the How to Train Your Dragon book series.
Cressida grew up in a tall townhouse in the center of London. On weekends she'd visit her grandmother in Sussex, where there was an Iron Age hill fort. The fort's huge size inspired many local stories about giants, which always fascinated her. While there, she also enjoyed exploring the oldest yew forest in Britain, where she searched for sprites and fairies. Her businessman father loved the wilderness, so every summer he'd take his family to a small, uninhabited and silent island in the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. There was no electricity, and the family lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and camped in tents for two weeks while there. By the time she was 9, her parents built a stone house and her father bought a boat, so they'd stay all summer.
Cowell now lives in London and is married to her husband, Simon, and has three children: her daughters Maisie and Clementine, and her son Alexander.
How to Train Your Dragon Book Series
The island where the family called their summer home was also the first of the British Isles that the Vikings had invaded, and many Viking ruins still exist there. Cressida's father would tell stories around the campfire about the Vikings and legends of dragons. She enjoyed imagining what it would be like to be a Viking living amongst dragons. She had been convinced that there were dragons living on the island, and has been fascinated by them ever since.
She spent her time reading and writing stories, fishing and searching for dragons. She first found her talent in children's entrainment while reading to her younger cousins and doing various voices for the story.
She wrote the first book in a tiny study off the sitting room of her present house shortly after moving in. She later had a shed built in the garden where she wrote the others. Her "Writing Shed" was a private place for her to write, draw, gain inspiration, make a mess, and even take a nap break as she even has a bed in the shed.
As her first child had recently been born when she began writing How to Train Your Dragon, she states that it could have been titled "How to Train Your Child", given it's initially all about being a parent. Both in the cases of Hiccup trying to bring up Toothless, and Stoick trying to bring up Hiccup. She intended the book be all about relationships and how being a parent teaches empathy.
How to Train Your Dragon Franchise
Cressida also has had a small role in the making of the How to Train Your Dragon movies.
In May of 2012, she co-hosted the documentary How to Find Your Dragon, which was a behind the scenes look at the first film, as well as an introduction to the then upcoming stage production How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular. It aired on Public Television in the United States, the UK, and Canada.
In March of 2017, DreamWorks bought the rights to her new book series The Wizards of Once, which is set in a world where wizards and warriors collide. It's to have the same type of adventure, action, and humor as her classic How to Train Your Dragon series. It's still unsure if DreamWorks plans make the new book series into a movie and/or TV series. The first of the books was released October 3, 2017, in the UK and the United States.
When asked by the British Magazine The Comet if she ever anticipated the success of the movie franchise, she answered-
- "I definitely did not expect it to be such a success. I actually think that’s a good thing, because if I had known, it would have been a much more pressured creative process! I am very lucky that the books have connected with so many people. A lot of the themes of How to Train Your Dragon are universal: growing up; your relationship with your parents or your children; what makes a good leader; protecting the natural world. I’m also, of course, very lucky that the DreamWorks movies are brilliant – I LOVE that they’ve captured the spirit of adventure in my books – which has brought lots of new readers. I’m looking forward to seeing how they are doing with How to Train Your Dragon 3 when I go to LA in October, and I’m thrilled that DreamWorks are going to adapt The Wizards of Once as well."
- ―Cressida during an interview with The Comet, September 17, 2017
- Hiccup: The Viking Who Was Seasick - (1999)
- Emily Brown - (series) (2006)
- The Wizards Of Once - (series) (2017)
- Her favorite book growing up was Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.
- DreamWorks Animation have acquired the rights to adapt Cressida Cowell's new fantasy novel series 'The Wizards Of Once'. This will be Cressida's second book series that will be adapted into an animated movie.
- She based Toothless off of her two cats, Lily and Baloo, and her children when they were two.