Week 15 | Recipes in your book

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 15

My favourite subject! I love food and, on one particularly hungry morning, I drafted this:

They’d reached the food part of the Market and the air smelled amazing. Everywhere Anna looked, a new, delicious sight reached her. There were huge barrels of hot honeyed nuts, stuffed pumpkins roasted with onions and potatoes, with tender meats being cooked beside them on spits. Freshly baked pies steamed from stalls on the left, every shape and size, and filled with apples and rhubarb and sugared pears. Fresh fruit was piled high in colourful pyramids, and mountains upon mountains of the strangest sweets Anna had ever seen. There were delicately baked biscuits in the shapes of leaves, iced all the colours of autumn. Sugar mice, chocolate hedgehogs and edible treats in the shape of every woodland animal huddled in sweet, tempting families. And there was bread, freshly baked and scenting the air with a sweetness that made her mouth water.

Food isn’t greatly important to my story or any of my characters (except Gourd Goodfellow), but I did spend a bit of time thinking about what kind of things faeries eat. Obviously, not being human, they can eat things that humans cannot, but below are two recipes that are suitable for both species (as long as they are prepared properly!): Continue reading

Week 14 | What, if anything, would you like to express through your writing?

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 14

I’m a firm believer in the whole ‘not every story has to have a moral’ concept, because I think children’s stories that are specifically written to teach children right from wrong tend to fall a little flat. When I was a child, I loved rooting for the small-time villains, or seeing my heroes angrily burst out at authority figures. I liked seeing them getting into trouble and, most importantly, having fun.

So, The Elder Throne doesn’t have a specific moral or cautionary tale to it. I like it better that way. However, someone can’t write a full novel without expressing some kind of opinion through it (or, at least, I can’t in this specific case). So, if I had to pick an idea that’s expressed through writing, it would be that there should be no limits to your belief in yourself. Continue reading

Week 13 | Your book is now a film. What will work well? What won’t?

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 13

Ah. The book-to-film adaptation. I suppose the most important thing to remember is that, if you’re fortunate enough to get picked up for one of these media transformations, you need to know what your priorities are. Changing a book to a film naturally means losing some of the detail only a book can provide but, at the same time, it can bring other aspects of your writing to life.

When Harry Potter was adapted for film, I remember being really excited to watch it, then watching it and being really disappointed because it wasn’t precisely how I imagined (I was a rabid 12 year old, forgive me). This is something I grew out of when I got older, and realised that a) you’re never going to please everyone and b) film has certain restraints and restrictions that books do not.

So…if The Elder Throne was going to be turned into a film, hm? Let’s see… Continue reading

Week 12 | Why a character speaks the way they do / unique slang

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 12

I spoke a few months ago about “Seelie Slang“, which touches on the odd phrases that are particular to the Faerie realm. However, one person who stands out in The Elder Throne as speaking strangely, even for a faery, is Madam Sage Begonia.

Mdm. Sage Begonia

Sage Begonia is the Head of the Knowledge Circle in the Seelie Court. The Knowledge Circle is a large department that holds everything from history to geography, to botany to languages of the world. Although Sage is well versed in all of her subjects, her particular strengths are history and languages. She is fluent in over 80 languages, including English, French, German, Mandarin, Norwegian, Russian, Goblinese, Hodpodgeon, Flitterwickish, Gaelic, Pictish, Spanish and Mer.  Continue reading

A spring in your step for Ostara

Spring is in the air! 


In the Celtic calendar, 20-21st March is the festival of Ostara; the Spring Equinox. It is a time of new beginnings, of birth and rebirth, and plentiful supplies of chocolate eggs. Yummy.

The Celtic Wheel of the Year features heavily in my children’s series, Equinox, as the quarter-points of the year (the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes [1] [2]; the Summer and Winter Solstices) are traditionally the points at which the barriers between the Fae and human worlds are at their thinnest.

But Ostara was also the basis for the Christian festival for Easter, making it a far more popular festival than its Autumn counterpart, Mabon. The good news is: that means lots of food and frolics to line up for the Bank Holiday weekend… Continue reading

Week 11 | My favourite minor character

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 11

My favourite minor character in The Elder Throne, based only on what is known of them during the story, is Gourd Goodfellow. He is the only son and heir of Lord Leander Goodfellow, who is a power-grabbing suck-up. Lord Goodfellow’s one wish is the same as generations of Goodfellows before him: to marry his household into the royal family.

Gourd is Leander’s hope for a union, and he keeps trying to throw his son and Anna together. Gourd, however, is completely disinterested in his father’s ambitions. Instead, the sole focus of his world, his one, all-consuming passion, is pie.   Continue reading

Week 10 | Thoughts on Gardeners and Architects

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 10

Some time ago (two and a half years ago, in fact), I spoke about the Art of Foreshadowing and touched on two different approaches to writing: Gardeners and Architects.

  • A Gardener is a writer who has a basic idea and ploughs into the narrative, letting the characters and plot change and grow as they write.
  • An Architect is writer who has a clear-cut idea of how their story will begin, progress and end, and knows their characters inside out.

Two and a half years ago, I would have told you that I’m most definitely an Architect. I would have also been very, very wrong. Continue reading