Happy Friday and welcome to my spot on the blog tour for the latest book in The Worldquake Sequence by Scarlett Thomas.
Scarlett Thomas has always loved stories, magic and mysterious places. She tried (and failed) to write her first novel when she was six. Since then she has successfully written lots of novels, but this is her first series for children. She lives near the sea in an old house full of books, and is a professor in the English department of the University of Kent.
She is the international bestselling author of The End of Mr Y.
Galloglass (released 4/4/2019) is the third volume in The Worldquake Sequence and published alongside the paperback of The Chosen Ones (Book 2). The first book is Dragon’s Green.
(Website features find your Kharakter quiz – I’m an Interpreter Bard!)
How did you find moving from writing adult to middle grade? What were some of the challenges, and joys?
I found I was able to experiment more with voice. My adult narrators are more deadpan on the whole, so it was nice to work with a more expansive, more expressive voice. The (unknown) narrator of the Worldquake books is quite old, probably a man, quite wise but also likely to tell you things he shouldn’t after a glass of sherry… He uses big words, fun words, exclamation marks… He’s the kind of grown-up you always want to tell you a story.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Worldquake Sequence can you give us a quick précis?
Effie Truelove was only 6 when the worldquake happened. It changed the world forever – some say it made it 10% more magical, and it certainly wiped out the internet and most technology – but it was also the night when Effie’s mum disappeared. We meet Effie now she’s 11 and living with her grumpy father and diet-obsessed stepmother. When her grandfather is killed by a shady book dealer who seems to want to get hold of his library of magical volumes, Effie has to save the books. In so doing she works out how to go to the Otherworld, how to use magic, and how to work with her friends to save the whole universe.
Describe main character Effie in a couple of sentences.
Effie is brave and always attempts to do the right thing. She doesn’t always get this spot-on, however, but it doesn’t stop her from trying.
The cover of the latest book has Glow in the Dark features. What do you think makes a great cover?
I love it when a cover shows you elements from the book that you do’t even know are important until after you’ve read it.
What are some of your favourite children’s fantasy stories – growing up, and now?
I love Diana Wynne Jones’s books. I’m a massive fan of Eva Ibbotson and Philip Pullman too.
Following the events in Dragon’s Green and The Chosen Ones, Galloglass reunites readers with Effie Truelove and her school friends, Lexy, Wolf, Maximilian and Raven as they navigate their worlds, which are under threat from Diberi, a corrupt organisation. Together, Effie and her friends must use their magical skills to defeat the evil tactics of Diberi before total destruction is wreaked upon the worlds at Midwinter.
Thank you to Jo Hardacre at Canongate for the copies gifted for the purposes of this post and for later honest review.
Something doesn’t add up about Archie and Pye…
After a disastrous day at work, disillusioned junior PR executive Tom Winscombe finds himself sharing a train carriage and a dodgy Merlot with George Burgess, biographer of the Vavasor twins, mathematicians Archimedes and Pythagoras, who both died in curious circumstances a decade ago.
Burgess himself will die tonight in an equally odd manner, leaving Tom with a locked case and a lot of unanswered questions.
Join Tom and a cast of disreputable and downright dangerous characters in this witty thriller set in a murky world of murder, mystery and complex equations, involving internet conspiracy theorists, hedge fund managers, the Belarusian mafia and a cat called μ.
Jonathan Pinnock is the author of the novel Mrs Darcy Versus the Aliens (Proxima, 2011), the short story collections Dot Dash (Salt, 2012) and Dip Flash (Cultured Llama, 2018), the bio-historico-musicological-memoir thing Take It Cool (Two Ravens Press, 2014) and the poetry collection Love and Loss and Other Important Stuff (Silhouette Press, 2017). He was born in Bedford and studied Mathematics at Clare College, Cambridge, before going on to pursue a moderately successful career in software development. He also has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. He is married with two slightly grown-up children and now lives in Somerset, where he should have moved to a long time ago.
(Incidentally I first met Jon on a writing forum Slingink and am happy to have kept in contact to see his success now).
What came first, character or plot?
Probably character. My plots tend to be pretty sketchy at first until I find out what’s going on, and it’s definitely the characters – and, specifically, the way they interact – that drives the development of the book.
Who is Tom Winscombe and how is he placed to handle the mystery he is landed with?
Tom Winscombe is a junior PR executive who has lost his way in life, to the point where at the start of the book, he has just set in train a sequence of events that will wreck his career, leaving him with plenty of time on his hands. He is, in pretty much every respect, very badly placed to handle the mystery he is landed with. However, he does have three things on his side at the start: 1) a suitcase containing the clue that will solve the mystery (once he manages to open it), 2) an ability to stumble on solutions to problems without really intending to (although he does also have a habit of creating problems that didn’t previously exist) and 3) a good heart. You can probably think of him as a less furry Paddington.
Why a mathematical mystery?
Good question. It was originally going to be a literary mystery, but I realised that I didn’t really know a lot about literature although I did know quite a bit about maths. So it became a mathematical mystery. Also, there aren’t a lot of those about, which is always good.
Who are Archie and Pye?
Archie and Pye are the Vavasor twins, mathematicians who both died in mysterious circumstances ten years prior to the opening of the book, giving rise to a whole swathe of conspiracy theories as to what actually happened between them.
What does Vavasarology mean to you?
You know what I’m going to say, don’t you? You’ll have to read the book to find out… (Sorry)
I wonder if anyone here got close?
Here was mine:
What are your top 3 editing tips?
Top 3 editing tips: 1) Listen to your editor – mine (Abbie Headon of Farrago) was absolutely brilliant at pinpointing all those bits that I knew deep down weren’t any good, but hadn’t admitted as much to myself yet. 2) If in doubt, cut. 3) And then cut again.
I really enjoyed Mrs Darcy Versus the Aliens and suspect Jon’s wit and humour will shine through again in The Truth About Archie and Pye. If you are a fan of maths, mystery or mirth pick up a copy.
I’m so pleased to be welcoming sisters Katharine and Elizabeth Corr to Books, Occupation… Magic! today to help them celebrate the publication of the final book in The Witch’s Kiss trilogy. The Witch’s Blood.
As one door closes… Thoughts on finishing a series
We started writing the book that became The Witch’s Kiss back in the early summer of 2014. It wasn’t our first book, but it turned out to be the one that changed our lives: it got us an agent and then a publishing deal with HarperCollins during the course of 2015. Since then, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. In the two and a half years since we started working with HarperCollins we’ve written and/or edited three books and seen them published. We’ve collaborated with three different editors and have seen our characters grow and survive (mostly!) everything that we’ve thrown at them. And now…
And now that particular bit of our writing journey is over. We dotted the last ‘i’ and crossed the last ‘t’ of The Witch’s Blood, the final book in our trilogy, back in November. Now the finished product, in all it’s beautiful, blood-and-holly glory, is in the shops. We don’t have to think about Merry and Leo, about witches and curses, anymore. And that makes us feel…
Weird, to be honest.
On the one hand, it’s nice to be able to take our feet off the accelerator a little (yes, you have to imagine us both trying to drive a car at the same time – it’s kind of how we write our books). Finishing three books in two and a half years has kept us pretty busy. But now, we’ve got time to think about what we’d like to write next. Time to start working on our new projects (four, at the last count). Time to invent new places, make friends with new characters, and decide what horrible things we’re going to inflict on them. And yet…
And yet, we’re a little bit sad. The more we’ve explored the world of The Witch’s Kiss, the more that world has revealed itself to us; there’s always just the hint of something over the horizon, of another room glimpsed through a half-open doorway. Both of us would like to spend more time with Leo and Cormac, for example. Or maybe find out what it was like for Gran to grow up in a magical family in wartime England. Lots of possibilities. But still only twenty-four hours in a day.
So, for the time being, at least, we’re shutting the door on The Witch’s Kiss and moving on to new endeavours. But we’re not throwing away the key: just tucking it under the doormat so it’s easily accessible. Because you never know.
Thanks to Kirsty for being part of our blog tour!
I’ve recently re-read the first two books and loved them even more. I always find I spot new things on a re-read.
Flashback to my interview with the sisters and their characters on the release of The Witch’s Kiss – https://kirstyes.co.uk/2016/07/04/the-witchs-kiss-blog-tour-author-and-character-interview/
And I was so happy to be invited to the launch of The Witch’s Tears that I made a little present for them both. Looking forward to seeing what’s gone in the last frame. Some Black Holly perhaps?
Finally a nod has to go to Lisa Brewster of Blacksheep Design for the stunning covers.
And I did shed a little, happy, tear when I read the acknowledgments in The Witch’s Blood. Thanks guys. Now I have a day off work so I’m going to tuck up in bed and read the whole of The Witch’s Blood. Will share my review shortly. I’m not sure I’m ready to say goodbye to Merry, Leo and the gang either. 😢