Monday, 28 December 2009

Why did I write Walker?

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.

Exmoor is packed with legends and with wildlife. At our old home we would watch the wild red deer come within yards of our house. We followed the progress of fox cubs, observing their earth about twenty yards from our kitchen window. Buzzards circled overhead and at night we would hear owls - tawny and barn. At one point we even had a family of stoats living just outside the front door...

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...

Shamanism: Many years ago I met a shaman called Leo Rutherford and he sparked my interest in this most ancient of practices. Intrigued, I went on courses run by The Sacred Trust, both in London and in Devon. Here I learned how to 'walk between worlds' for myself. I met spirit guides and was taught how to do healing; how to practice 'soul retrieval' and how to help the dead to transit over into the afterlife. All the practices you will read about in Walker, actually.

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.


  1. Just when I thought I couldn't love "Walker" any more - this tops it all off! Thanks for sharing the story behind the story - it makes your book that much more intriguing. I can't wait to own an autographed copy. :)

    Bright blessings!


  2. Traci: so glad you like the blog... Rest assured you will be one of the first to have a copy of your own! Janex

  3. Hi Jane,
    I stumbled upon your blog & book - just love it. I recently started my own blog & I've added your link to it =)