Genuine fan messages are always welcome. Terry is NOT able to contribute to school projects or make school visits.  

If you are interested in the television series of 'Horrible Histories' then contact Lion Television or CBBC.

 Terry tries to answer all emails from readers within a week of receiving them. He is not able to correspond by post.

Please note: Terry Deary does not own the "Horrible Histories" brand name. If you are looking for permissions to use that copyrighted name please contact Scholastic Children's Books.

 Click Contact to send a message to author Terry Deary.

To help save you time, you here are the top dozen questions he is most often asked along with his answers ...


Why did you start writing?
Lewis Carroll told a story about a place called Wonderland to a little girl called Alice. The little girl said, "You should write it down or it will disappear". So he wrote "Alice in Wonderland" which became a classic book. I was an actor in a touring Welsh theatre company, performing very popular plays, especially children's plays in school. I decided to write those plays down as stories "before they disappeared". The first one was called "The Custard Kid", written in 1975 and published in 1977. It's a great feeling to see your name on the cover of a book. I wanted to see that. Even though I have published over 200 books I still get a thrill from seeing a new book of mine when it's published. Is that being big-headed?

How long does it take you to write a book?
A book takes me between six hours and six weeks to write, depending on how long it is and how difficult it is to get the information together. Some authors take ten years or more to write a single book. I wrote in 2008 - one book every three weeks. Plus I will be writing television scripts, radio and theatre scripts and acting in stage, television and radio productions. I also need to find time to manage three businesses. Of course I work six days a week - Sunday is my only day off. In March 2009 I wrote six books in 4 weeks.

Where do you get your ideas?
I'm a writer. It's my job. I don't have to go anywhere or do anything to "get" ideas. They are already in my head.

Where do you write?
I work from my home in County Durham (though I started when I lived in Suffolk). Writers should be able to write anywhere and not worry about what is going on around them. I used to be able to do that but now I seem to work better with a bit of peace and quiet. My writing place is now a special place. It is a small room in the roof of the house. The window looks out over a valley and on a clear day I can see the sea 20 miles away. My room is connected to the rest of the world by telephone and computer lines so it never gets lonely though I may spend 12 hours a day there.

Do you use a computer?
I work on a computer and have done for the last twenty years. Publishers will not accept books written by hand. I used to use a typewriter but computers make it so easy to change work, correct mistakes, count words and check for spellings. I can't imagine ever being without a computer now!

What is your favourite book that you wrote?
The favourite book series that I've written are probably 'The Fire Thief' trilogy and the four books in the 'Master Crook's Crime Academy' series. I am hoping to turn both into movies or television series in the future.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I have never wanted to be a writer. I have always wanted to play football for Sunderland! When I was a kid I read a book by Enid Blyton. All her characters were so posh I thought, "I could never be like that! I could never write books about children like that because they are rich and go to private schools!" Hopefully the books I write can be read by anyone, no matter what sort of homes they have or what sort of schools they go to. But, when I can afford to, I will give up writing and become a full-time actor.

How many books have you published?
By September 2017 I'll have published 300 books in the UK. Many have been translated into 40 languages and appear in another 1000 editions around the world. But I have probably written nearer a 350. Not everything I write gets published. Some writers spend all their lives writing books and never get anything published so In guess I must be very lucky.

Why did you start writing Horrible Histories?
I started writing Horrible Histories in 1992 because a publisher asked me to write a funny history book. I know nothing about history myself – researchers dig up all the facts. My job as a children's author is to present those facts in a way that will entertain them and not send them to sleep the way school history lessons do. I believe the books are a success because I am not an historian.

Will you write a "Horrible Histories" book about my country or my favourite subject?

Sadly I cannot choose what "Horrible Histories" titles I write. The publisher chooses the new titles and picks the ones that they think will sell the most copies in the UK. They then ask me if I'd like to write them. If you have a request for a "Horrible Histories" title then contact the publisher, Scholastic Children's Books.

Do you have any tips for me if I want to become a writer.
My favourite author Raymond Chandler said, "Trying to help people to write is all waste. The people whom God or nature intended to be writers find their own answers. And those who have to ask are impossible to help. They are merely people who want to be writers". In other words you can't become a writer – you are born a writer, or you're not. If you are NOT then find out what you ARE good at and do it.

I am writing a book. Will you read it, Terry?

I am not able to read books that haven't been published. There are legal reasons for this. Any stories or manuscripts that are received at this email address have to be deleted instantly. Sorry! Writers who need a reader to advise must contact an agent or a publisher. 
Chandler also said : "Don't ever write anything you don't like yourself and if you do like it, don't take anyone's advice about changing it. They just don't know." That is to say, don't listen to teachers. Teachers can't teach you how to write ... if they knew how they would be writers not teachers.