Writing The Clockwork Crow and The Velvet Fox has been a real pleasure. It was great to write for a younger age group and to try and create a satisfying set of stories that had all my favourite things – legend and folklore, a Welsh landscape, a strange old house, frost, snow and Christmas, and then in the second book the reds and golds of autumn, fallen leaves and deep woodland.
Above all it is fun writing the characters, especially the Crow and Seren, with their tetchy, humorous (I hope!) relationship. And in The Velvet Fox I had a few villains too, the odious governess, Mrs Honeybourne, and the silkily dangerous Velvet Fox himself.
One of the interesting things about writing for this age group is having to use simple and direct language that engages the reader and keeps them breathlessly turning the pages, without stripping the story of atmosphere or description. It’s often a fine balance and involves a great deal of cutting and deleting, always a good thing for the self-indulgent writer, and I am one. Also there has to be plenty of action but that should not overwhelm the characters and their desires and fears and problems.
Another thing I enjoy is weaving in elements of fairy tale and folklore; often parts of plots or transformations that readers will recognize. In these books the Tylwyth Teg, the faery folk of Wales, are always plotting to snatch away the children or even the Crow himself, and I enjoy creating Their tricky, beautiful allure.
I hope readers of the books will have as much fun as I have writing them! And look out for book 3 The Midnight Swan, coming next year.