What inspires me to learn something new? by Ian Graham

February 15, 2015

I was delighted when Miles Kelly asked me to write the Project Space book, because I enjoy writing about space and space exploration more than anything else.

I grew up during the ‘Space Race’ in the 1960s when the United States and Soviet Union were competing against each other to land the first astronauts on the Moon. It was an exciting time. The astronauts were as famous as movie stars and the space missions looked like science fiction coming true. Beyond the Moon, robot spacecraft were exploring the whole Solar System and sending back the first close-up photographs of the planets that we’d ever seen. And scientific instruments on Earth and in space were probing the rest of the Universe. Space science was making headlines every day.

I’ve written lots of books about space and other subjects too, but I didn’t plan to be a writer at all. I thought I was going to be a physicist. I studied physics for ten years at school and university. Then I discovered that I could go on to study journalism at university to become a science writer. It sounded like fun, so that’s what I did. After that, I went to work as a magazine writer and editor. Then publishers started asking me to write books. After a few years, I was so busy writing books that I had no time for any magazine work.

I enjoy learning new things and I certainly learn a lot when I’m doing the research for my books. I look in all sorts of places for the information I need. I search newspapers, magazines, books, websites and tune in to radio and television programmes. And then I put the information together in a way that tells the story I want to tell.

It’s a bit like doing a very tricky jigsaw puzzle. You have to first decide what picture the puzzle will show. And then you have to find the pieces that will make that picture – and they could be anywhere in the world. The pieces fit together in all sorts of different ways, so you have to decide which way to fit them together to make the right picture. It’s challenging, it’s hard work and it’s also great fun.

Most of my books are non-fiction for young readers, but I’ve also written graphic novels for young readers and non-fiction books for grown-ups. I’m looking forward to writing more books like Project Space and I hope you enjoy reading them.

Ian Graham has contributed to many Miles Kelly books, including our popular Discover the World series. Find out more about Ian Graham in the Read about our authors section.

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