HOW to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell can't wait to return to the land of her inspiration.

The award-winning writer is among the start-studded line up for this year's Family Book Festival in Melrose.

Cressida is launching the second instalment of The Wizards of Once series at the Borders Book Festival on Saturday, June 15.

Twice Magic is yet another slice of high-octane adventure set in a magical time of wizards, warriors, giants and sprites.

Since the first book in the series was published last year, it has been sold in over 35 different languages, won several major awards and is currently being turned into a new Dreamworks film.

But the author and illustrator is relishing a return to the country which first inspired her most popular series of books, How to Train Your Dragon.

With more than eight million books sales and hugely successful film and television adaptations, How to Train Your Dragon has become a firm favourite with children around the world.

Cressida, who spent family holidays as a girl in Scotland, told us: "My father was a great birder and environmentalist and we would spend our summers on an island off the west coast where there was no electricity.

"We would read but he would also tell us lots of stories about where we were and one, that I always remember, was about a dragon on nearby Mull. I would spend my days searching for the dragon.

"All of the Inner Hebrides were a great inspiration - there are so many Viking stories on those islands.

"The Isle of Berk in How to Train Your Dragon is based on the little island where we spent our summers.

"I don't get back to Scotland nearly as often enough these days, so coming to Melrose and the land of the Reivers is something I'm really looking forward to."

Cressida published her first book, Little Bo Peep's Library Book, back in 1999.

And has since written and illustrated more than 20 titles.

Although How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once are both screen successes, it's her books which continue to give her the most pride.

Cressida explained: "I am a book writer at heart and while I'm so proud of my the films and television programmes, it's the books that give me the greatest pleasure.

"Research shows that the more a child reads for pleasure the more successful they will be in later life.

"What I want to do at the Borders Book Festival is encourage children to read and get pleasure from reading.

"I've been to the Borders Book Festival before and I loved being there - it's such a wonderful setting - and I can't wait to be there again this year."

Cressida Cowell will be appearing on Saturday, June 15 at 10.45am as part of the popular Family Book Festival.

The festival also includes kids craft activities, storytelling and creative workshops.

Adults get to go free to any Family Book Festival event so long as they are accompanied by at least one child!

Further highlights include M G Leonard, author of best-selling Beetle Boys, sharing her passion for creepy crawlies with real live exotic beetles, Christopher Lloyd and his signature coat of many pockets appeals to all whether 7 or 107, as he stops off at defining moments (on his eight meter timeline) that have shaped history.

Beetle Mania and Absolutely Everything both take place on Sunday, June 16.

For tickets go to or call the Box Office on 0131 473 2000