At the beginning of the month, I was lucky enough to travel to Prague and stay with a friend I’ve known since we were two. We saw a ballet of The Little Mermaid, which featured huge, skeletal, deep-sea puppetry, and dancers who moved in slow-motion, like seaweed. The ballet was very strange, dark, and emotional. I loved it.
(I wasn’t supposed to video any of it, shhhh!)
We walked in the snow at midnight and watched an angel chorus and drank hot punch in the old town square, under the gigantic Christmas tree. Everything was building towards the shortest day, and now we find ourselves caught in the middle of those short, still, dark days between Christmas and New Year. Though we’ve passed the tipping point where the days will slowly begin again to lengthen, any stirring of life within the earth is a long way off, yet.
And I’m taking a chance to reflect on 2017:
I wanted to say a MASSIVE thanks to all the amazing readers who have made my first eight months as a published author so magical. If I had to choose just one best thing about 2017 it would have to be receiving letters from readers. Some have featured amazing drawings, others were written on sea-themed notepaper, or notepaper edged with stars. Another included photos of an incredible Lego model of the Huntress ship – I’m looking at you, Harry Clements!
But the best thing about every single letter is the words written inside, telling me how much you enjoyed Sea, or Sky, or both. That means everything.
Now: I find myself between rounds of edits for book three in The Huntress Trilogy, Storm, and trying to choose what to write next. I’ve been thinking of it as the post-Huntress era, and it’s more than a little strange to contemplate, but fast approaching. Though I’d love to return to the world of Trianukka one day, I think I’d like to write a few of the other stories that are scratching away inside my skin, first. But which will reach boiling point first, I wonder? One thing I know: magic will mix itself into the story, as usual.
As well as pondering new projects, I find myself wanting to read, lots, and barely do anything else. I’ve just finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (something of a weighty tome, but so so good!) and am now devouring A Far Away Magic, the second book by Amy Wilson, author of A Girl Called Owl. I’m loving AFAM – it’s packed with dark, unexpected, seriously strange magic, unlikely friendships and intriguing characters. It’s darkly thrilling, and very different from anything else I’ve read.
In 2018, I’m excited about:
Being allowed to continue this writing dream of mine. The Huntress: Storm will be published in June.
Mischief Makers – The Huntress: Sea has been chosen as one of the reads in the Summer Reading Challenge 2018 collection, by the wonderful people at The Reading Agency, who make it their mission to inspire people of all ages & backgrounds to read for pleasure & empowerment. The summer reading challenge is so important and I’m so proud that Sea has been selected – and that the spirit of mischief in my books has been recognised! It means even more that the books for the challenge were chosen by kids. Thank you to everyone who voted for Sea!
Reading – there are so many books I can’t wait to get my hands on in 2018! A few that are top of my list include Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone, When The Mountains Roared by Jess Butterworth, The Eleventh Trade by Alyssa Hollingsworth, The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson and The Eye Of The North by Sinéad O Hart. To name but a few…I’m not 100% sure why I haven’t been crushed to death by falling books, yet.
Word-fishing – to snag the story that I’m most excited to pursue this coming year. Bring on the research trips, the inspiration collages, the free writing and the falling head over heels for new characters. I love this writing life. There’s no magic like it.