Wednesday, 20 March 2013


If I could be anywhere, right now, it would be on Tresco in the Isles of Scilly, a small group of islands off the coast of Cornwall. The weather is typically British - think mostly wind and rain, but also a lot of sunshine - yet the view out of the window is far more tropical. My very favourite place to write is curled up on the window seat of the cottage my family stay in, looking out across the sea. It was easily the inspiration for the Brizan Realm (the realm associated with water) in Fire and was also the image I was picturing when I first began to write the series.

The story initially began with Jasmine, barefoot on a beach, looking out to sea and waiting. When I began, she didn't have a name, and I wasn't even initially sure what she was waiting for, but waiting she was.

She was filled with a mixture of excitement and anticipation, but also fear and anxiety - because something had changed, something that would make the return she was awaiting bittersweet. She had a secret.

From there, the rest of the story emerged: Realms at war, Protectors with power over the elements, and Fire's second protagonist, Roxy.

I have been going to the Isles of Scilly since I was a young child, and have always found them a great source of inspiration, for various stories and scenarios. I think that is probably because they’re so cut off from the rest of the world – there are no cars on Tresco, but there are tractors and golf-buggies and lots of lots of boats. Going to sleep at night, I could look out the window and see the islands’ lighthouse, Bishop Rock, in the distance, the last landmark before America.

Tresco offered me a setting that was completely removed from my everyday life. It encouraged me, from an early age, to remember that the monotony of school and suburban life wasn't the only way to live, which is crucial for writing fantasy, which is so often about escapism.

Writers such as Michael Morpurgo (War Horse, Private Peaceful) have found inspiration on the islands and it also the focus of beautiful artwork.  I think that, as a writer, or artist of any kind, having a location like the Isles of Scilly, that you can draw on and picture on those dull days when you’re sat at your desk typing, is invaluable. It doesn't have to be a remote island retreat though; it could be anywhere that’s special to you.

The world I have created in the Elements of Power series is not as idyllic as the Isles of Scilly. It’s far darker, more fractured and flawed. But I like to think that, on a first glance, at least, it is visually as beautiful, and is very much somewhere that I would like to be.

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