“After writing, ‘Once upon an octopus sat upon my knee’, aged 4 and a half, I was doomed to spend half my life writing headlines… ads for everything from jammy whisky brands and 5 star hotels to tacky football merchandise. But, like many copywriters, on the quiet I wanted to be an author. I never stopped writing. When the idea for Black Snow Falling first came together, it gripped me so hard, I turned freelance to write it.
The story takes place almost 500 years ago at the times of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I in a fictional town called Crowbury (located a day’s horse ride from London!). Ruth is the spirited daughter of a bereaved merchant-turned-nobleman. In his long absence, a noose slips around Ruth: she is betrayed and (without giving away spoilers) is trapped by desperate sexism. Worse still is the very dark magical realism – an existential threat – which weaves the time lines together.
Ruth finds a way to fight for her life and protect her friends (in curriculum lingo, she finds agency) and I love her for it.
I think that stories which use myth and go beyond reality help meet that need in us to explain how things can go so wrong, to articulate unspeakable things. Young people today are still fighting the same monsters as Ruth. All that’s changed is the wallpaper.”