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Blog Tour/Author Interview: Kate Forsyth

Kate Forsyth


The Witches of Eileanan series

  • Dragonclaw (1997) - released as The Witches of Eileanan in the US.
  • The Pool of Two Moons (1998)
  • The Cursed Towers (1999)
  • The Forbidden Land (2000)
  • The Skull of the World (2001)
  • The Fathomless Caves (2002)

Rhiannon's Ride series
  • The Tower of Ravens (2004)
  • The Shining City (2005)
  • The Heart of Stars (2006)

The Chain of Charm series
  • The Gypsy Crown (2006)
  • The Silver Horse (2006)
  • The Herb of Grace (2007)
  • The Cat's Eye Shell (2007)
  • The Lightning Bolt (2007)
  • The Butterfly in Amber (2007)
  • Dragon Gold (2005)
  • Wishing For Trouble (2006)
  • The Starthorn Tree (2002)
  • The Puzzle Ring (2009)


The Puzzle Ring

Hannah Rose Brown was not quite thirteen years old when she discovered her family was cursed...

It seemed a day like any other day. Yet for twelve year old Hannah Rose Brown, it is the day when her ordinary life is changed forever, a day when she discovers a past full of secrets and a future full of magic.

Hannah lives with her mother, Roz. Her father Robert disappeared soon after she was born, and she and her mother are all alone in the world. Or so Hannah has always believed. Yet one day a letter arrives, addressed to the Viscountess of Fairknowe. Hannah thinks it's a hilarious mistake but the letter upsets her mother who confesses that Hannah’s father was the Viscount of Fairknowe, and the heir to Wintersloe Castle in Scotland.

The letter is from Hannah’s great-grandmother – someone she never knew existed – begging Hannah and her mother to come to Scotland. At first Roz refuses – she had sworn never to return to Wintersloe Castle. But Hannah is determined to go, her curiosity aroused by the letter’s reference to a curse.

Wintersloe Castle is an old house, built near the ruins of a castle and overlooking the waters of Loch Lomond. On the northern wall is a strange gate, built through the hollow trunk of an ancient yew tree. Through the gate, Hannah can see the round hill that rises behind the house, crowned with a blackthorn tree. This is called Fairknowe on the maps, but the locals call it the fairy hill.

Strange things begin to happen. A toad coughs up a round stone with a hole worn through the middle. When Hannah looks through it, the world seems different. She hears a dog howling at night – yet there is no dog at Wintersloe Castle. Shadows seem to stalk her. One stormy day, the toad shows her the way to her father’s old tower room – and Hannah discovers the history of the curse of Wintersloe Castle, which has blighted the family and the house for centuries.

Hannah is determined to break the curse, but to do so she must go back in time to the last tumultuous days of the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. She must face all sorts of dangers, including being hunted by the evil queen of the Otherworld and being accused of being a witch...

(summary from author website)

Do you consider yourself a YA author or an "Adult" author.. or neither?

I write for all ages! I have a couple of picture books for littlies, a series of illustrated chapter books for kids aged 5 and above, novels for children aged 9+, and more for the 12+ age group, plus about 10 books for adults. Oh, and a collection of poetry! I say that you can read me from birth to death J

Which novel has been your favorite to write? Do you even have a favorite?

I find it very hard to pick just one favourite book, when I’ve written 24 in total. Each book has a special place in my heart. ‘The Witches of Eileanan’ was my first published novel, and completely transformed my life. I went from being an impoverished wanna-be-writer, to a bestselling, internationally published author. The next in that series ‘The Pool of Two Moons’ was written when I was pregnant with my first child – I had to completely rewrite the birth scene after actually experiencing it myself! The next few books in that series were written while I was struggling with adapting to a career that was taking off at a time when I had a young baby. ‘The Starthorn Tree’ was my first YA fantasy, and so very special to me as I’d always longed to be a children’s writer. I wrote my picture book and my early readers for my own children, and so it was a delight for them to see them published. While writing ‘The Gypsy Crown’ was just one of the most amazing experiences – the idea came to me like a lightning bolt out of the blue and then took over my entire life, meaning that I had to put aside other projects I was already contracted for to write it. And I loved writing it! It was also a real breakthrough novel for me – I was published in lots of new languages and it was my first children’s book to be published in the US (though most of my adult novels have been published there). And ‘The Puzzle Ring’ was just a joy to write – it was a book I had wanted to write for a long time. It draws together so many things I have always loved – a time travel adventure, Scottish history and fairytales, curses and puzzles and hag-stones ...

Describe your writing in three words.

Mysterious, magical, exciting.

What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?

Ever? That’s a hard one! Here are just a few highlights from reviews of the Puzzle Ring:

  • The Puzzle Ring enchants and enthrals until the very last sentence ... demonstrating what marvels an author can accomplish when her head and her heart are fully engaged.' Stephen Davenport, writing in The Independent Weekly.
  • 'The Puzzle Ring is captivating, wonderfully fantastical, tremendously insightful, and best of all, fun ...' Angie Schiavone, The Sydney Morning Herald.
  • 'The story zips along from one side of our world to the other before stepping into a totally different one. Readers will love its pace and humour and be sucked into the mystery and adventure.'The Scotsman.
  • '...a wonderful blend of contemporary realism, history and Scottish mythology.' (Magpies)
  • 'One of those blaze-through-it-one-sitting fantasy titles' (Bookbag)
  • 'A richly told tale of history, magic and intrigue by a wonderful storyteller.' Deb Abela.
  • ‘Forsyth's stories possess a richness of character, an old-worldy charm and a classic adventurism that plunge readers into other realms that are immediately convincing because they are often a small step away from our own world, yet completely fantastical.' Aleesah Darlison, in The Sun-Herald.
  • 'A thrilling historical adventure story from the award winning and highly popular Australian writer Kate Forsyth', The Skinny in Glasgow.
  • While the wonderful Joanne Harris called it 'lively, funny and fast-paced'.

If you could travel back in time for one year, where would you go, and what three things would you take with you?

Oooooh! All the most fascinating times in history would have been really unpleasant to live through. I’d like to meet the Bronte sisters, so I could go back to Haworth in 1847 – the year ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Jane Eyre’ was published and a year before Emily died. I’d take my own poems and books to show them, some really warm clothes because it’d be freezing on those moors, and the cure for tuberculosis ...

What is next for you?

I’ve just finished a YA fantasy which is being published in Australia in May. Its called ‘The Wildkin’s Curse’ and tells the story of two boys and a girl – traditional enemies but drawn together by circumstance – who set out to rescue a wildkin princess from imprisonment in a crystal tower. The wildkins are a race of people with intuitive magical talents, and they have been persecuted by the ruling starkins as a result. The wildkin princess has the power to change things with her words ... which means all her wishes, all her curses, all her prophecies come true ... it’s a story of “High Adventure and True Love”, in the immortal words of William Golding.

Catch more of Kate tomorrow on Jenny's blog Wondrous Reads!

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Blog Tour/Author Interview: Kate Forsyth + novel