Firebirds and talking wolves

DSCN0095 DSCN0093When Trinity’s heroine, Helen Clement, first arrives in Russia, she’s put in mind of a book she once owned as a child, sent to her by her mother’s Russian-American friend, Professor Bayeva. It’s a beautiful illustrated version of the most famous of all Russian fairy tales, The Tale of Tsarevitch(Prince) Ivan, the Firebird, and Grey Wolf. The story’s an amazing, thrilling blend of adventure, magic, quest and romance, with a good dose of danger and betrayal thrown in, and features vivid characters: not only Ivan, his beautiful beloved Yelena, and his wicked older brothers, but especially the mysterious Firebird and the shape-shifting Grey Wolf who is Ivan’s helper, protector and saviour. Teamed with beautiful illustrations by the great classic Russian artist Ivan Bilibin, it’s a story to stick in the memory of any child.

As it certainly stuck in mine. That classic fairy tale was an important part of my own childhood reading, in its incarnation as a Soviet-era picture book that preserved the great beauty of the illustrations and the straightforward nature of the original 19th century retelling. That edition was one of a series of English-language books of fairy tales, published in Moscow, that introduced to Western children not only wonderful stories like that one, and others such as Fenist the Falcon, Vassilissa the Beautiful, and The Frog Princess, but also the gorgeous illustrations of Ivan Bilibin. And those books have stuck in my imagination ever since, with their rich strands working their way into my writing as an adult, in books such as The Firebird, Scarlet in the Snow, and now the Trinity series.



Guest post by author Justin Woolley, book-release buddy!

Author Photo - Justin Woolley A Town Called Dust CoverToday, my blog features a special guest–fellow Momentum author Justin Woolley, who’s also my book-release buddy, as his debut novel, a dystopian YA novel titled A Town Called Dust, comes out tomorrow, along with my own Trinity: Koldun Code.

In this fascinating post, Justin writes about the influences behind his creation of the distinctive world of A Town Called Dust, but first, to set the scene, let’s get a taster of the book from the blurb:

Stranded in the desert, the last of mankind is kept safe by a large border fence… Until the fence falls.
Squid is a young orphan living under the oppressive rule of his uncle in the outskirts of the Territory. Lynn is a headstrong girl with an influential father who has spent her entire life within the walled city of Alice.
When the border fence is breached, the Territory is invaded by the largest horde of undead ghouls seen in two hundred years. Squid is soon conscripted into the Diggers – the armed forces of the Territory. And after Lynn finds herself at odds with the Territory’s powerful church, she too escapes to join the Diggers.
Together Squid and Lynn form an unlikely friendship as they march to battle against the ghouls. Their journey will take them further than they ever imagined, leading them closer to discovering secrets about themselves, their world, and a conspiracy that may spell the end of the Territory as they know it.

Wow–that’s some set-up! Over to you, Justin. We’re all ears!

Inspiration for a book is a funny old thing. It never hits you as one fully formed idea; at least it never hits me that way. For me it’s more like that scene in Jurassic Park where Robert Muldoon, the park game warden, is facing off against the velociraptors. The ideas all sneak up on you and ambush you from different directions sometimes leaving you quite surprised. “Clever girl…” That’s how it was with the inspiration for my debut novel A Town Called Dust, a dystopian young adult novel set in a post-apocalyptic version of the Australian outback, inspiration came at me from many directions. Continue reading

My pick for top five urban fantasies

I have a guest post today, in Justin Woolley’s blog series, ‘Author’s Top Five’, which is about books that you’ve not only loved, but have influenced you as a writer. I’ve picked my top five urban fantasies, and just loved writing about these wonderful books!

The Norse gods reinvented in new series by Lauren Dawes

The time of the Aesir gods is over. Now they live amongst the humans in their bustling modern cities. Their brutal dominion over the gods and humans may have ended, but their actions have not been forgotten.

This is the intriguing background for fellow urban fantasy author, and Momentum mate, Lauren Dawes, whose new Dark series reinvents the world of the Norse gods, bringing them down to earth in our time–and letting them loose! The first book, Dark Deceit, came out in September; the second, Dark Desire, is coming out on November 25. Here’s some fabulous character teaser posters to whet your appetite!

Lauren’s website is here.