For those who don't know you, can you tell people about your interest in paganism?It was always there; my mum was a very spiritual person and talked to me about everything from a very young age – reincarnation, God, death, spirits, you name it. She’d had a lot of supernatural experiences and her aunt, my great aunt, was in the Spiritualist Church. Mum was friends with a few white witches (as they called themselves - I think the phrase has gone out of parlance now) so when I came across Wicca and paganism in my teens it was all quite natural and logical to me. In my twenties I started Reiki and healing and studying tarot more deeply, and then other things like herbalism and Celtic pagan traditions.
Crow Moon is the first in a trilogy of books about the Greenworld. What's next for Daniel?Ha! Well, I can’t say too much of course, but suffice to say there’s lots more adventure, magic, misfortune and affairs of the heart to experience for all the characters! Danny ends book 1 by returning to his home village where he has a lot of work to do – lots has happened while he’s been away.
What made you decide to move from writing poetry to concentrating on a set of Young Adult books?I had been working at Booktrust already for a few years and came into contact with children’s books as a matter of course, and became more and more interested in YA. I read quite a few US YA witchy titles (basically because I’ll always pick up a magical-themed book) and I thought there was something different I could write, set in the magical landscape of the UK, something a bit more gritty and ecological. And with more realistic magic. I realise that sentence sounds a bit bonkers but magic - the art of making positive change in your life and the world - really IS real. In my view, though, that’s as much about working hard for a promotion as lighting a candle and asking a deity to help you find a new job.
Any advice to anyone dreaming of becoming an author?Believe in yourself, keep writing, write for no purpose, don’t expect everything to become something, work on your craft, be tough enough to face rejection because you’ll get loads, and at the same time, believe in your writing enough to know it’s great! Also, go to courses, events, network and meet book industry people – other writers, agents, publisher people, in person if you can and online.
Where do you get your writing inspiration from?I think it percolates. I find I’ve been mulling issues and ideas for a long time when they eventually come out, sometimes it’s years until I find what I want to say about something. There’s the stuff I think is cool which is a life constant – music, spirituality, art, books, biker dudes, sci-fi, tattoos and the great outdoors. Then there’s new ideas that come in from stuff in the news, stuff I read, people I know, and all that mixes up together. I think it’s much the same for most people making creative things. I like making links.
What are you working on next?I’m working on Book 2 and 3 at the same time right now, editing one and writing the other. Sleep is a distant friend. And I have loads of other stuff I want to write too. I need 5 of me. I’m not sure anyone else would agree.
If, heaven forbid, there was a fire, what possession would you grab first to save?This is providing that all the people and the cat are safe, right? I don’t know. Everything. I’d be sad to lose my notebooks; my son’s baby clothes; heirlooms from my grandparents.
What five people, living or dead, would you choose to invite to a dinner party?Aha! Such a great dinner party discussion topic in itself, because the people you’re really interested in the most might not be the greatest dinner party companions – like, I’m fascinated by Nikola Tesla but who knows what his grasp of current affairs was like? Was he charming or boring? You can’t have a bore at a dinner party. So I have to go for a bubbly, bright and hilarious dinner party with Russell Brand, Rik Mayall, Dianne Wiest, Emma Thompson and Bill Bailey. Then another more laid back and cool dinner with Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, David Lynch, Kim Gordon and Elizabeth Taylor. Then maybe another evening with Salvador Dali, Aleister Crowley, Tesla, Joan of Arc and JW Waterhouse just for sheer weirdness/brilliance, but god only knows if we’d get out alive from that one. Things would be burnt. There would definitely be graffiti in the bathroom. I’d quite like to be one of those people that’s known for hosting artistic dinner parties, like a salon. That would be fun.
Miss Chapter x