It may be a good 500 years since the last wolf was hunted down in this country. However, I’m happy to say that you can still hear them howling today in the village of Beenham in Berkshire. That’s where Nuka and his sisters Tala and Tundra live.
There are three lighthouses in The Mirror of Pharos – one from the past, one from the present and another that’s as futuristic as any space ship. The last only exists in the book. But the first two were inspired, in part, by real places.
Want to know a secret? I have an unusual hobby, which until recently I hadn’t told anyone about. No, it isn’t toe wrestling! Or extreme ironing. Or lion taming. Or even the extraordinary art of Hikaru Dorondango.
Writing The Mirror of Pharos has taken me on some wild adventures. You get to do some cool stuff when you research a book. At Charlton’s Breakers Yard I got to press a button and demolish a car. Now that’s what I call a ‘smashing’ day.
Odin, Nan’s long-suffering black and white cat, needs every one of his nine lives in The Mirror of Pharos. And for that he can thank his real-life twin, Buster. He sits by me every day as I work and I’ve discovered he has literary ambitions of his own.
Lots of books are inspired by true events in the real world. Art imitating life. But imagine how weird it would be if you’d written a fantasy and one of your fictional characters turned up in your own neighbourhood? Life imitating art? It’s enough to give you goosebumps.
When Indigo first turned up in The Mirror of Pharos I wondered what on earth he was doing there – a fragile ornament with hooves pawing the air in the middle of Jack’s collection of model motorbikes. Nothing ever happens in a story without a good reason.