Every ship has a soul.
In the world of Trianukka, terrodyls plague the skies, and the sea crawls with savage gulpers and merwraiths. Thirteen-year-old Mouse lives aboard The Huntress, a trading galley captained by her one-eyed grandma. Ever since Ma died, giving birth to Mouse’s sickly brother Sparrow, she has looked after him as she promised, dreaming of her destiny as the future captain of her ship. But now Da’s gone missing, Sparrow’s in danger and a deathly cold is creeping across the world…
Hear the drumming, feel the pulse, join your voice to Mouse’s in a fearsome battle-howl!
The adventure continues in book two…
The trail of the Storm-Opals takes Mouse further than she has ever been before. With her little brother Sparrow and friend Crow alongside her, she stumbles into the world of Sky, where fortresses are hidden amongst the clouds, secret skybraries nestle atop gigantic icebergs and the sky swirls with warring tribes and their ferocious flying beasts. Can they solve Da’s message before it’s too late for their ship, their tribe and the whole of Trianukka?
The idea for the books first came to me in one image – a child wrapped in white furs, standing on the deck of a ship, surrounded by a vast, black ocean. I now believe that child was Mouse’s brother, Sparrow! Soon after that I began to hear Mouse’s insistent voice, telling me about herself, her family and her home aboard her ship. It was a voice that hooked me and one that I couldn’t ignore. I was working as a midwife in London at the time and I think this also inspired the story, because it became apparent when I started writing that Mouse had been ‘born in the caul’, and that got me thinking about old sailing superstitions and how sailors would use a baby’s caul as a charm.
From there the idea progressed based on what I consciously wanted to write about. I was encouraged to think about this during my MA. I’m now a firm believer in the value of writing the book you want to read! I was inspired by wild weather, indigenous cultures, merfolk, whales, ships, lighthouses, the sea, castles, danger and mystery, and so I decided to go ahead and write about these things. I was excited to write an adventure playground of a ship, which proved a joy to explore as a writer. I also wondered what it would be like to live in a world where some of the dangerous creatures from millions of years ago had never become extinct—this triggered the idea behind the terrodyls.
As a child I loved fantastical stories such as Spellhorn by Berlie Doherty, A Necklace Of Raindrops by Joan Aiken and the Carbonel books by Barbara Sleigh, as well as books by Roald Dahl, CS Lewis, Enid Blyton and Anne Fine. I watched films like Jaws, E.T, Star Wars, Indiana Jones and The Dark Crystal over and over again. I found these stories frightening and fascinating in equal measure. I also loved books about unlikely, stormy heroines who I identified with and who experienced (what I now recognise to be) great character arcs, like Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden.
I hope that The Huntress is a series which will appeal to fans of books like The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell, Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve and The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone.