Your first book in the PathFinder series ‘A TodHunter Moon Adventure’ is out this October. Could you tell us a little bit about it?
It’s a trilogy called TodHunter Moon (named after the main character, Alice TodHunter Moon). Book One is called PathFinder and this is where we meet Alice—or Tod as she is known.Twelve-year-old Tod comes from a mysterious group of people known as PathFinders and has grown up in an isolated village beside the sea. We meet her attending her first MidSummer Circle meeting where she learns the PathFinder secretand sees a mysterious Dragon Boat fly overhead. Soon Tod’s life is changed forever by the disappearance of her fatherand the invasion of her village by terrifying creatures. PathFinder takes us on an exciting journey with Tod and her friends, Oskar and Ferdie Sarn, as they try to save their village and rescue their friends and families. In doing so they discover new talents and amazing places, like the Wizard Tower and the Castle (if you have read Septimus Heap you’ll recognise these and some of the people who live there too). We also meet a Snow Princess, a wicked sorcerer, some small creatures called Drummins with suckers on the ends of their fingers and discover avery strange system of Ancient Ways, which Tod learns to navigate. And we get to know a Grula-Grula.
There’s lots more, but you’ll have to read it to find out!
Where does your inspiration when writing come from?
I get ideas from imagining atmosphere and places. When I began to write PathFinder I had apicture in my mind of a girl sitting on a beach beside an empty boat, waiting desperately for someone to walk out of the sea. Often just a small scene or image will come to mind and then, if it feels right, I can almost jump into it and wander around, meeting people as I go and working out what is happening to them. After that I need to actually write on my laptop to keep the ideas coming.
After leaving school you went on and illustrated books before writing your first ever novel ‘Septimus Heap: Magyk’ in 2005. What made you take the jump from illustrating books to writing them?
It was more like a slow slither than a jump! For some time I did both together. I wrote and illustrated a few picture books and then chapter books, but I did always want to concentrate on writing because I find it much easier to makepictures with words than paints.It was only when I had some time to think that I began to put Septimus Heap together from ideas I had been thinking about for a very long time.
You currently live in a fifteenth-century house, have you ever had any spooky encounters while living there?
Well … bright shiny things do go missing and turn up in different places. That has happened to previous owners too. And sometimes there is a strong smell of burning paper for no reason at all. But the house has a happy atmosphere, which is even better since we discovered a wall painting of Henry VIII under some plaster. Now Henry looks down at us with a bemused expression. I think he is still trying to work out what the television is …
Other than writing, reading and drawing do you have any other hobbies you like to do?
We have a boat called Annie of Rock (also known as the pirate ship) and she is my best hobby ever. I just love to be out with her on the creeks and the sea near Falmouth, it’s my idea of Magyk!
If you could give a young writer one tip what would that be?
Be adventurous. When you write you can create any world you want to and be anyone you want to be. Go for it!