In October Amy Wilson released her newest title Shadows Of Winterspell, a book that sees the human world side by side with that of a world of magic. In this story much like her earlier titles A Girl Called Owl, A Far Away Magic, and Snowglobe the world of magic created for children to become immersed in feels as realistic and authentic as the world we live in which is testament to Amy’s incredible talent and knowledge of all things fae. In a recent catch up with Amy I asked her about her latest release, and all sorts of magic and book related questions.
Q) Describe Shadows of Winterspell in five words.
Magical, wild, heartstrong, headstrong, home.
Q) All of your books have a huge element of the magic world in them, what
attracts you to write about that world and why do you love it so much?
What I really love to do is to make magic feel real. That it’s something just out of sight, just beyond our understanding. I think there is much magic in the real world – in us, and in our environment. Human kindness, and courage, and so many of the things we can take for granted – the beauty of a sunrise, of winter’s first snow. I try to see those things, and expand upon them with a little extra magic, which brings beauty and also something stark and wild. It’s a little bit dangerous, as is the world, and that’s part of the appeal, I think.
Q) In Shadows of Winterspell there are some stunning “trump card” style
pages detailing the different creatures that feature within the story, which one is your favourite and why?
Thanks to Helen Crawford-White and Macmillan Children’s for those! My favourite is probably the centaur/centaurides. The image in my mind of the way Rory calls forth the dawn in the heart of Shadows of Winterspell is one of the most lingering.
Q) What are your go to books when you are looking to escape into the world of magic? Did these inspire your latest book?
Diana Wynne Jones’ The Magicians of Caprona was the first book that really resonated with me. It was about a boy in a magical family, who loved to read, and loved cats, and felt he had no real power of his own. Of course, he did, and that message stayed with me. Even if you feel small, that doesn’t mean your voice doesn’t count. It might be the most powerful voice the world has ever heard, just biding its time. There are many other magical books that have inspired me since, especially those by Sophie Anderson, Abi Elphinstone, Victoria Shwab or Kiran Millwood-Hargrave.
Q) What are you currently reading?
I’m very lucky to have been given a proof of Deeplight by Frances Hardinge, which is gorgeous. Also I’m reading a child psychology book, The Orchid and the Dandelion by W Thomas Boyce, which is really fascinating.
Q) Your books all feature strong female lead characters, why is that so
important to you?
I had a very powerful female character in my life in the form of my mother, and what’s interesting is that when I talk about her, many people make assumptions based on the fact that she was a woman, and a mother. She didn’t fit easily into either of those boxes, nor any other. I think it’s vital for the world to see girls and women as the complex, powerful creatures they are, and to challenge preconceived notions of both male and female roles. When I first imagined Rory the centaurides calling the dawn, she was a centaur, a male figure. It didn’t feel quite right, and then I
realised I didn’t really see dawn as male, I saw it as female. Centaur was the default; not what I really had in mind. So I looked up female centaur and learned the word centaurides – I’m still not 100 per cent convinced how to say it, but I’m pleased that I thought to question my initial idea and adapt it to what was true for Shadows of Winterspell.
Q) You previously wrote a book about Jack Frost’s daughter, who is your all
time favourite character from the world of magic and why?
Hmmm!! The Goblin King, from Labyrinth, comes to mind. Inhuman, beautiful, captivating and cruel, and flawed – and so wonderfully played by David Bowie, of course.
Q) What are you currently working on? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I’m working on something new for next autumn, though the details are still under wraps at the moment. I can tell you that it’s set during a magically-charged summer scorch, which is rather a departure for me!
SHADOWS OF WINTERSPELL by Amy Wilson out now in paperback (£6.99, Macmillan Children’s Books)
The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the FCBG.
Competition : For the chance to win one of five copies of Shadows of Winterspell we have been given by Macmillan Children’s Books tell us which magical character from the book Amy said was her favourite. Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. Competition ends 18th December 2019.