This month our celebrated book is Faerie Tribes, The Crystal Mirror, by Paula Harrison author of the fabulous Rescue Princesses Series. Faerie Tribes is the first of her new series of books for middle-grade readers. Over the next few days we will be posting, reviews by adults and a child alike, an editor interview plus a Spotlight on Writing article. If that wasn't enough we're also giving away a copy of the book signed by Paula!
Paula Harrison is the author of Faerie Tribes (for older readers) and The Rescue Princesses (a younger series). She wanted to be a writer from a young age but spent many happy years being a primary school teacher first. She finds inspiration in lots of things from cloud shapes to snippets of conversation. She loves sandy beaches and eating popcorn. She lives with her husband and children in Buckinghamshire, which is nowhere near the sea. Whenever possible, she packs her family into the car and journeys far and wide to find a sandy beach where she can paddle in the waves.
What was your favourite children’s book as a child?
That’s a really tricky question. There were just so many! Most of my favourites were from the fantasy genre, so I’ll pick The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper.
What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?
Well, it’s still The Dark is Rising and other book from that genre that I enjoyed. Except now I’d have to add some more recently written books such as The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?
They touch your mind while it’s still growing and changing. They help you find out who you are and who you want to be.
Why did you start writing for children?
I never really outgrew books for children. I did an English degree but then returned to the books I loved as a child and young adult.
What made you want to write this book?
The idea of a reality hidden beneath our normal everyday world fascinates me. I think it plugs into that feeling children have that adults aren’t telling them everything. Imagine if there was a secret so huge that it changed your perspective on the world and everyone you knew. That’s what happens to Laney Rivers.
What is your favourite aspect of writing for children?
Putting myself in their shoes.
Do you think of your books as books for girls, or books with girl protagonists?
Both and neither! I think there’s a certain point where you let the story fly and let the readers get what they want from it. Lots of boys would love Faerie Tribes in the way they love other series with fantasy and a character searching for identity. Conventional publishing wisdom says boys won’t read about girl protagonists though, and there’s nothing I can do about that.
This book and your series for younger readers, ‘The Rescue Princesses’ feature feisty heroines, is this a matter close to you heart?
It isn't something that I deliberately chose to write about. These girls just bound on to my page. I’m very interested in characters like Laney, who have to dig deep to find their courage but do manage to find it all the same.
To win a signed copy of Faerie Tribes The Crystal Mirror, Just email us at SpaceOnTheBookshelf@yahoo.com with your name and address and 'Faerie Tribes' in the header.