Hi, I’m Scott Dagger, a fantasy adventure chapter book author and massive board game geek. My latest series, BEAST WARRIORS, is a thrilling adventure set in medieval times, where a young boy must battle the beasts to save his kingdom.
My best childhood memories are about reading. Me and my dad would walk the dog every Saturday morning to buy the latest Beano Magazine, then read it together on the sofa with some chocolate biscuits. My mum read to me at bedtime, my favourites being The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia. My sister read the first three Harry Potter books on a canal bridge holiday, which inspired me to read the rest on my own.
So, naturally, I LOVE reading to my kids! But I soon hit a BIG problem . . .
Fantasy adventure chapter books for young children are BORING!
I want to explore new worlds, discover amazing magic systems, and go on epic adventure with my two boys. But the books marketed for young readers aged 6 to 9 (chapter books that are steppingstones between picture books and longer books) are all the same:
- Plots are simple and way too predictable – once you’ve read one, you’ve read them all! Kids aren’t dumb. They want to be entertained, and it didn’t take long for my kids to get bored of a series.
- Characters are 2D cardboard cutouts – expect for the main protagonist, all the supporting characters have little to no impact on the story. They might as well be walking around saying "I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I took an arrow in the knee..."
- Too short – fantasy books are long for a reason. World-building, magic systems, races and cultures and fight scenes and witty banter. I get that kids have short attention spans, but even one linear storyline can have all these things elements and be under 20,000 words.
- Not enough illustrations – this really shocked me! Young readers need pictures to pull them into the narrative. But some books have pages of nothing but text. My kids would try to turn the page to find the next illustration before I was finished reading.
I was already writing humuorous middle grade books under my real name - James Warwood. So, I decided to start a pen name and write my own fantasy adventure series. That’s how the BEAST WARRIOR series and Scott Dagger were born.
They are the books I want to read to my kids.
Non-boring fantasy stories that the parents enjoy just as much as the kids. I’ve made every effort to make each book in the series the perfect bedtime reading experience:
- Fast-paced plots and open loops – the stories are driven by the plot. That means every page is full of action and chiff hangers and mysteries that hook readers young and old and leaves you hungry for more.
- 3D characters and a developing main character – here’s where this gets interesting. I’ve given the supporting cast their own backstory and desires and flaws. Plus, the main character, Lance, has a disability he must learn to embrace at the same time as saving the kingdom.
- The perfect length – I spent a lot of time researching this and found that 15-20 chapters with an average of 1,000 words was the sweet spot. It’s long enough to have a decent storyline with world-building elements, but short enough to finish over a week of 15-minute bedtime stories (3 chapters a night).
- Illustrations on every page – as you read the stories, the kids will always have something awesome to look at.
If you enjoy reading fantasy with a touch of humour, magic, and mystery, you will love my books. You can support me by buying them through my author website or you can find them on Amazon and all the other online stores.
You can also sign up to my mailing list to get the companion book to the BEAST WARRIOR series – The Book of Mythical Beasts. It contains information about all the monsters and beasts in the series and has loads of brilliant illustrations. Sign up now and I’ll send you a free digital copy.
Thank you for visiting my website and for supporting my work. I hope you and your kids enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them.