Monday 11 June 2018


Mirror Magic Blog Tour June 10th 

My interview with Claire for my blog Drawing on Books

Can you describe your book Mirror Magic in one sentence?
A pair of Victorian orphan siblings return to their birthplace of Wyse – the only town in Britain where magic still works…

Where did your idea for Mirror Magic come from?
It started with a conversation with my agent. The BBC adaptation of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel had just been on TV and she said she’d love to see a middle grade version. I, in my usual fashion of opening my mouth without thinking, said 'I can do that!’
Of course once I started to write, it became a very different thing. I drew inspiration from Victorian gothic novels and my favourite Dr Who episodes, which have humour and creepiness in equal measure.

What is your favourite part of the book?
It’s near the end, so I won’t spoil it for you. But I love the twin towns of Wyse and Unwyse and the way magic has been downgraded to a tourist attraction so that no one takes it seriously – until it starts to go wrong.

Who is your favourite character? or Which character do you most relate to?
The Book. I used chapter headings in my last two books (The Accidental Pirates series) and this time I decided to turn the author of the chapter headings into a character. And so I have a sarcastic, grumpy magical book which has a habit of making random, nonsensical pronouncements. It’s basically me before I’ve had my morning pot of tea.

As a professional writer what has surprised you most that you didn't expect?
The joy of working with an editor. The back and forth with someone who can see the potential of your book and is determined to bring it out, despite your incompetent writing. I hadn’t appreciated how much work an editor puts into a book before. It’s immensely satisfying to see a story take shape over several rounds of editing. A good editor will push you beyond your capabilities and make you a better writer.

What is a typical writing day for you?
Small goals is what works for me. For a 55,000 word book, I set a large number of tiny goals – write 500 words, edit a scene that isn’t working, sort out a character’s background. I have a weekly to-do list with space to tick off tasks as I do them to give me a sense of achievement.
I usually sit down to start writing by nine o’clock. Sometimes I work at home and sometimes I meet a friend in a very nice cafĂ© half an hour from home, which also helps me get a bit of exercise in before I start work. I write for two or three hours at a stretch and I try to remember to take a lunch break.
My word count for the day varies wildly. I aim at 2,000 words, sometimes I go way over and I can celebrate, on other days I struggle and end up deleting more words than I write but as long as I can keep ticking off goals in my notebook I know I’m heading in the right direction.

What is your favourite quote?
It comes from Reverend Stowe. He’s the Wyse vicar in Mirror Magic, and a member of Freedom For Fair Folk which campaigns for fairy rights. “Some people fear the unknown,” he says, “but in the end it’s always better to be shaped by our kindness than our fear.”
That, to me, is the heart of the book, as we live in an uncertain and frightening world, and fear can drive us to act very unkindly. Far better to be shaped by our kindness.

Who is your favourite literary hero or heroine
The recent BBC adaptation of The Woman in White has reminded me how much I like Marian Halcombe. She’s not conventionally beautiful – Wilkie Collins describes her as ugly – but she’s clever, brave and utterly terrific. She can face down evil men, climb about rooftops at night, play chess and argue politics. She could easily have been jealous of her pretty sister, but she loves Laura fiercely and will sacrifice anything to protect her. An all-round brilliant woman.

Are you working on your next book and if so can we have a sneaky clue what it's about?

I thought you’d never ask! My next book is called Storm Hound and it is my favourite book in the world (that’s probably just because I’m in the middle of writing it.) Storm is the youngest hound of Odin’s Wild Hunt – the hounds of Annwn, as they’re called in Wales. Unable to keep up with the pack, he crashlands just outside Abergavenny and is horrified to find he has shrunk to the size of a mortal puppy. He’s rescued and adopted by a family who have problems of their own, but Storm’s fall has been noticed, and soon the little Welsh town is filling up with strange people seeking to steal the stormhound’s magic.

There’s a sneak preview of Storm Hound at the back of Mirror Magic, and it’s coming out early next year, so you won’t have too long to wait.

Thank you Claire for a fascinating interview. Mirror Magic is my Book of the Week in the South Wales Evening Post. Review below. 


Orphans Ava and her brother move to Wyse, set between England and Wales, and are catapulted into an ancient mystery. Wyse connects to the magical Unworld through mirrors. But why is the magic disappearing? In this Victorian adventure, Ava joins forces with a fairy, Howell, to protect a magic book of prophecy that could save them all. The charismatic cast of characters, creepy skeletons, enchanted hats and a snappy dog will keep young readers spellbound.
ISBN 9781509870066 PB Macmillan £6.99
5/5 Stars

Claire’s bio:

Claire Fayers was born and brought up in South Wales, an area of the country sadly deficient in dragons. Having studied English at University of Kent, Canterbury, she built a successful career writing short stories for women's magazines until the lure of magic became too much and she wrote The Accidental Pirates: Voyage to Magical North. It was selected for Waterstones Book of the Month and shortlisted for the FCBG Children's Book Award 2016, and its sequel, The Accidental Pirates: Journey to Dragon Island, was published in 2017. When she's not writing, you'll find Claire at her allotment. Mirror Magic is her third book with Macmillan Children's Books.

Claire’s links:

Twitter: @ClaireFayers
Facebook: /clairefayersauthor

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