The first book I reviewed for BookMurmuration became a lifelong favourite. A Girl Called Owl is a story of frost magic, the search for family-identity and a hidden world where a magical council controls the seasons.
Amy Wilson has now published three books, each as fantastic as the other. Her latest novel, Snowglobe, is a story of three magical sisters, manipulation and the importance of grabbing life with two hands. Like all her novels, it is set in a world with hidden pockets of magic and wonder.
I am delighted that Amy has agreed to take part in a Q&A about magic and fairytales and all things winter. Her answers will leave you daydreaming and grabbing for a pen to write your own magical tales. It is a pleasure to have Amy here on my blog. Your debut novel, A Girl Called Owl, takes us into Jack Frost’s wintery world and your latest story Snowglobe features a room full of magical snowglobes. Why are you drawn to snowy landscapes?
I love the blank page of a snow-filled street. The sense of possibility and magic that comes with all the ordinary being hidden away. And the danger that comes with the beauty feels like such a truth. Many of us are lucky enough that we spend most of our lives cushioned from the harsh extremities of the world. Snow – winter – reminds me that we are still, always, at the mercy of our environment.
Do you have any favourite stories set in snowy worlds? What do you love about these stories?
CS Lewis’ Narnia stands out immediately. I have such a sense of the wild and the cold, and the snap of branches underfoot. The danger, and the suffering of those who need spring so desperately. I love the heart of the characters, the friendship offered when there is little else to give. I’ve recently read The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden and I suppose it seems natural that I would love it, but I LOVED it so much. I loved the old myths and legends, the wilderness, the magic. All of it!
Snowglobe and A Far Away Magic feature houses with magical secrets. The houses are unique to your stories. Please do you have any tips about creating magical houses as settings?
See them as a character. These houses have been around for longer than the characters themselves, and if there is magic in your world, and in your characters, then that magic may have infused the place. See normal things: a kitchen sink, a clock, a chest of drawers, with infinite possibilities. Even a settee is capable of much, in a magical house. And we all know about wardrobes…
The magic in your stories is subtle – other people in the same world may not be aware it exists. Why do write magic in this way?
I want it to be so nearly real that you can truly be there, even if you’re sitting on the train reading. Like shadows in the corners of your eyes, or the mist rolling over the fields in the very early morning that could be more than it looks. Powers that work like a sneeze, or the tingling of skin with a shock. The sensations are real, it’s just a question of taking that one step further, and then wondering, if that did really happen, if I could do things that we believe are impossible, would other people believe it? Or would they just blink and think they’re tired? Would they see it? I think that even if it were real, some people perhaps wouldn’t see it because they don’t open their eyes to see the magic that is in the world, they’ve trained their minds in other ways.
Snow melts shortly after it settles, especially in the UK. If you were given magic to turn a snowflake into an object you could keep, what would that object be? Please can you describe it for us?
I would turn it into a unicorn – a Pegasus actually, because it would have wings, and we’d travel the world, at night, and have the most incredible adventures. And then one day we’d find a whole heard of snow-Pegasus’ and I’d have to leave her there but every winter she’d come and graze in my garden, and give my children rides up to the stars.
If you could choose any magical power, what would it be and why?
I’d like to talk with trees. I’d like to hear their voices, to know what they think of the world.
Win a copy of Snowglobe – thanks to the lovely people at Macmillan Children’s Books UK, I have three copies of Snowglobe to give away to readers in the UK or Ireland. Check out my Twitter feed for a chance to win. Competition ends 16.12.2018 at 11.59pm.
A huge thanks to Amy Wilson and Jo Hardacre for your time.