Why does anyone write a book? Because they have a story to tell, I suppose.
But there are several reasons why I wanted to write this particular book.
Exmoor: When I was a child I used to stay with my grandparents at the other end of Somerset, in a small town called Castle Cary. We would go on coach trips to the seaside but the trip I really wanted to go on was to a place called Exmoor. It just sounded wild and magical. When I finally went there, many many years later, I realised it was all that and more.
I have lived on Exmoor for about twelve years now - firstly right out on the wild moor, and now on the edges of the National Park, in a (very) small town called Dulverton.
It's not just the animals. On Exmoor there are hills supposedly built by fairies. There are strange beasts and ghosts and places people won't go after dark. It is an ancient place, with wild open moors, deep combes (steep valleys), fast-flowing rivers and isolated villages. The perfect setting for a spooky story...
I wanted to write a book that was steeped in real magic - not just make-believe. Pretty well every shamanic technique you read about in Walker is real - and I've done them all. Okay, I took a bit of liberty with the shape-shifting in this reality - but you can indeed take on the characteristics of an animal guide. For example, if I'm driving my car on a difficult journey, I often call on the power of the far-sighted eagle. If I'm in a tricky situation, with sneaky people, I will summon up the characteristics of the smart coyote or cunning fox.
Good old-fashioned storytelling: When I was young I was entranced by the books of Alan Garner and Susan Cooper. They were authors who wrote about strange things happening in this world, in the everyday world. I have always loved the idea that the world of magic or the supernatural is really there all the time, if you know where to look for it. I am fascinated by things you see out of the corner of your eye; by the mood or atmosphere of places; by the spooky and uncanny.
This is just a few opening thoughts. If you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them...just leave a comment.