Why you chose that particular setting?
This is my fourth book in the Estraguil setting. Having put a lot of work into creating a fantasy place, I just love playing with it and keep going back there. It has so much history to explore, and lends itself to all kinds of different stories.
What does the setting add to the story?
It’s a mysterious place, full of magic and possibility. Myths are very important in Estraguil, story and landscape, heritage and culture are all interwoven. The setting has a distinct personality of its own, with intentions of its own and lends itself to drama and adventure.
Could you write the same story in a different setting?
Why or why couldn't you use a different setting?
I don’t like rabbit out of hat solutions. ‘The Girl Who Fell’ is rooted in the nature and logic of estraguil, with some of the quirks of the setting being essential to the plot.
Did you use a real place as a basis for your setting?
There’s a considerable influence of the Forest of Dean in Estraguil – narrow river valleys, woods, caves, hills etc. The name itself – Estraguil – was an old name for Chepstow Castle, which is in the Forest of Dean. Said castle provided the inspiration for a tower in the story, and for the whole concept of Estraguil.
Tell us some specific details about your setting. What would we see?
It’s a wild and beautiful place, with massive ancient trees, boulders, caves, rivers and waterfalls. There is a lot of unique indigenous wildlife – much of it dangerous. You get small pockets of civilisation around the trefs, but once you get away from those, the forest is untamed, full of wonders, hazards and adventures.
What sort of people are there?
There are a number of kith groups who inhabit the forests – some nomadic, some stationary. Most of these groups have their own areas, some do not. While basically humanoid, the inhabitants of Estraguil tend to be strange – furred, feathered, shape shifting, with tails, or hooves, claws, forked tongues, or other striking quirks.
If we were travelling to your setting, what should we bring with us?
Stout boots, a sturdy pack, something for warmth, water skins, something to hunt with. Bring no more than you can carry on your shoulders because there are no beasts of burden here, and technology is minimal. Make sure you have stories or songs, because these can be traded almost anywhere.
For visitors, what do they need to know to visit your setting?
Estraguil is dangerous, with a lot of rules of its own. Travel cautiously, treat those you find with respect – if you offer no violence you might not receive any.
Thank you for sharing details about your book setting. Now, what's the title of your book and where can we buy it?
The Girl Who Fell