Lancaster author sets debut children’s thriller novel in Lake District

Danny Rurlander
Danny Rurlander

A new children’s book by a Lancaster based author which is set in the Lake District has been launched in the city.

Danny Rurlander launched his debut novel Spylark at Waterstones in Lancaster last week.

The married father of four, aged 46, who grew up in Kendal but now lives in Lancaster, is basing a series of children’s novels around the Lakes and Morecambe Bay.

Spylark has been described as “a confident and exciting debut novel about brave kids and a bunch of homemade drones.”

The action-adventure thriller is aimed at boys and girls aged nine and above.

After studying English Literature at the University of East Anglia, Danny worked in the finance sector for several years, and now serves on the staff team of Moorlands Church, which meets at Ripley Academy.

Danny said: “A number of influences and experiences have found their way into Spylark: my own childhood adventures in the part of the world where the book is set; a first-hand knowledge of flying aeroplanes gained through my time with the RAF; and perhaps most of all memories of books I read as a child, most notably Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons.

“I wanted to bring these influences together in the form of a classic adventure story with a modern twist.

“All of the action of the book is set in, on, around or above the northern half of lake Windermere and the surrounding fells – and even under them. One of my aims in writing the book was for this setting to be more than an incidental backdrop. I wanted to try and capture this wonderful place in a such a way that you could smell the bracken of the hills coming off the very pages.”

While at university Danny spent two years learning to fly with the RAF, as an officer cadet in the Cambridge University Air Squadron. 

He has lived in Austria, Kenya, Devon and Australia, but always longed to return to his native Lake District where he grew up exploring the fells and camping on islands.

The book was launched at Waterstones in King Street, Lancaster on Friday 12, where copies are now available for purchase. It will be released nationally on 1 August and can be pre-ordered from bookshops now, including Amazon, WH Smith, Foyles, Waterstones, and a number of independent bookshops in Cumbria and Lancashire.

The blurb for the book states: “Ever since the accident, Tom’s struggled with his mobility.

“But he has a secret escape: Skylark, his drone – through this technology, he can fly above his Lake District home, exploring his world from a totally different perspective.

“But when he stumbles upon a terrorist plot, he knows no one will believe him. Maggie and Joel, a sister and brother on holiday in his aunt’s cottage, are the only ones who can help...but can they stop the plot in time?

“Set in his native Lake District and using the islands that inspired Swallows and Amazons as his backdrop, Danny Rurlander’s thrilling debut novel is a perfect adventure of the absolutely classic kind.

“With themes about the importance of friendship, bravery, terrorism and technology, fans of Alex Rider and Artemis Fowl will certainly enjoy this thoroughly modern action-adventure story with heart.”

The book has been published by Chicken House.