The Voyage to Magical North
Author: Claire Fayers
Genre: MG Fantasy/Adventure
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Twelve-year-old Brine Seaborne is a girl with a past--if only she could remember what it is. Found alone in a rowboat as a child, clutching a shard of the rare starshell needed for spell-casting, she's spent the past years keeping house for an irritable magician and his obnoxious apprentice, Peter.
When Brine and Peter get themselves into a load of trouble and flee, they blunder into the path of the legendary pirate ship theOnion. Before you can say "pieces of eight," they're up to their necks in the pirates' quest to find Magical North, a place so shrouded in secrets and myth that most people don't even think it exists. If Brine is lucky, she may find out who her parents are. And if she's unlucky, everyone on the ship will be eaten by sea monsters. It could really go either way.
It started with a vague idea that I wanted to write something fun, so I started making a list of fun things. By the time I had pirates, magic and penguins, I knew this was going to be some sort of voyage. And I know penguins live in the south pole, but a voyage to the north seemed so much grander. But why would magicians and pirates want to find the north pole? The answer was obvious (to me, at least): This world had a third north pole. Alongside geographical north and magnetic north there is magical north - a place of ultimate magic and giant mounds of treasure.
That’s a hard question as I love so many books. I have a real soft spot for classic adventure stories - Jules Verne, HG Wells and the science fiction of John Wyndham. And I love the humour of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett and the way they played with some of the stock ideas of sci fi and fantasy.
What's the hardest part of writing, in your opinion?
The hardest part of writing is always the bit I’m doing at the moment! Starting something new is probably the hardest thing of all. Was the first book a fluke? Do I have the imagination to think up a whole load of new characters, a whole new story? Lack of confidence can be crippling. I’ve found that I come up with most of my ideas as I’m actually writing, so I have to start off with almost nothing in my head and see what happens. There are days when I know I’m writing complete rubbish but I have to make myself keep going because I have to get the rubbish out of the way so the good ideas can come.
Any tips for aspiring writers?
Keep going. Especially on those difficult days when you’re tempted to give up. Also look out for local writing groups, join SCBWI, join a critique group. Learn as much as you can from other people. The children’s writing community is a fantastically warm and friendly place so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
What's up next for you?
I’m working on the sequel to Voyage to Magical North, in which my heroes sail to the Unexplored reaches of the Western Ocean in search of Brine’s parents. There may be dinosaurs.
I live in South Wales, birthplace of the famous pirate, Henry Morgan. I used to work at Cardiff University, first in health and safety (you will notice that my pirates fight VERY safely) and then in the university science library. Now I write full-time at home with my husband and my two cats, usually stopped every chapter or two to let them in or out of the door. (My cats, not my husband: he can already open doors.)
In my free time, I like skiing, flying kites, and music – I can play the cello a bit and I’m learning the piano. I enjoy gardening and grow a lot of fruit and veg so if I come to visit you don’t be surprised if I bring a jar of jam.