Questions I Frequently Ask
Hi, how are you? What are you reading?
When will there be another season of Sherlock?
Do we actually want another season of Sherlock?
Will this draft ever be done?
Are there any chips?
Questions I Am Frequently Asked
When is your book coming out?
THE UNLIKELY ESCAPE OF URIAH HEEP and A DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAGICIANS are out worldwide right now.
A RADICAL ACT OF FREE MAGIC, the second book in The Shadow Histories, will be out next year (2021).
Is there a sequel to A DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAGICIANS?
Yes! A RADICAL ACT OF FREE MAGIC is coming 2021. (I’ve written it, I swear.) I would never leave everyone like that.
Is there a sequel to THE UNLIKELY ESCAPE OF URIAH HEEP?
No, not at present. But thank you, sincerely, for asking.
What is THE UNLIKELY ESCAPE OF URIAH HEEP about?
Books. Magic. Sibling rivalry. Present-day Wellington. Dickensian London. Academia. Children’s stories. Girl detectives grown up. Literary characters coming to life. An impossible street hidden behind a wall. Shape-shifting Dickensian villains, multiple Mr Darcys, and the Hound of the Baskervilles. Dorian Gray is in it too. I like Dorian Gray.
There’s another summary under “Books”, which is much better because Orbit wrote it and they’re professionals.
What does the H.G. stand for?
What are some things you like?
It’s too obvious, but honestly: books, and everything associated with them. Writing them, reading them outdoors, studying them, watching BBC adaptations of them, visiting them in libraries and old bookshops and new bookshops, tripping over piles of them in the dark (well maybe not that last but it happens a lot).
I also love history, travelling, rabbits, windy days, theatre, sketching, potatoes (but not sketching potatoes), trees, and magicians. Wellington and London are the cities of my heart and soul.
What is your favourite book?
This is such a reasonable question to ask, and so impossible to answer.
I grew up on The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien), Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams), and Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series. Somehow, these worked together in my head.
I’ve studied or tutored just about every literary time period there is, from Old English to Modernism to the present day, and I honestly love so many writers from all of them with all of my heart. I love Beowulf and Chaucer, Shakespeare and Keats, Jane Austen and the Brontës and Elizabeth Gaskell and Charles Dickens and Dostoyevsky and Katherine Mansfield and Ford Madox Ford and oh no I forgot Mary Shelley we have to go back. I’ve done a lot of work on classical epic, so Homer and Virgil are very close friends of mine.
My PhD was in children’s fantasy, so I love C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll, T.H. White, Rosemary Sutcliff, Beatrix Potter, Sherryl Jordan, Margaret Mahy, and Richard Adams (I still don’t know if Watership Down is actually a children’s book, but it’s a book about rabbits who are also epic heroes and that’s all you can ask for from a book). I also talk about Paddington Bear a lot.
Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn is a perfect book. So is P.D. James’s The Children of Men, and Dodi Smith’s I Capture the Castle. I love Laini Taylor and V.E. Schwab and Neil Gaiman and Hilary Mantel and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Jude Morgan writes sentences so gorgeous I cry. Daphne du Maurier was a genius. I am incredibly lucky to be published alongside many brilliant authors at Orbit whose work I love and respect (including but not limited to Alix E. Harrow, Tasha Suri, Rowenna Miller, Melissa Caruso, Vivian Shaw, and Andrea Stewart).
But deep down, it’s still The Lord of the Rings, and that probably won’t ever change.
Who would you bring out of a book, if you could?
I’ve thought about this a lot, obviously. And the more I thought about, the more obvious it became.
I’m not joking.
Failing that, I have a huge weakness for arrogant magicians in any shape or form, so probably Doctor Strange AND Jonathan Strange AND Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. At which point I’ll realise that I should have stuck with Paddington Bear.