Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Meeting Your Heroes - Tamsyn Murray

Is there a single children's writer who doesn't love Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series? If there is, I've yet to meet them. The reaction of every author I've ever mentioned Susan Cooper to is the same - 'Love those books, maybe don't mention the film.'

I think I was around fourteen when I discovered the series. As with the Narnia Chronicles, I started with the second book, The Dark Is Rising, and it was love at first sight. Will Stanton was the perfect character; the seventh son of a seventh son, his chaotic family life meant he struggled to make himself heard so it was perfect when he discovered he was an Old One, destined to battle for the Light against the Dark of the title. Special.

I immediately wanted to be Will and eagerly sought out the first book. From then on, I read them sequentially, and loved the way he grew through the series, although he always seemed wise beyond his years. More than one female author has told me they were more than a little bit in love with Will Stanton (looking at you, Jo Cotterill) and now I come to mention it, I realise I was too. In fact, I think I wanted to marry him. But more than anything, I wanted to live in that world. In fact, I still do.

So when I heard Susan Cooper had a new novel out and was visiting the UK for publicity, I became ridiculously excited. There are a few of my childhood authors who I can claim, hand-on-heart,  inspired my career as a writer and Susan is one. These are authors whose writing stands the test of time - Alan Garner, Robin McKinley, Ursula Le Guin to name but a few - the ones whose books I remember twenty years after I first read them. I immediately booked a ticket to see Susan in conversation with Marcus Sedgwick at Piccadilly Waterstones on 24th October. I can't  wait to hear to hear about her new book, Ghosthawk, which is set in colonial New England and sounds very different to the novels most people know her for. One of the very best things about being a children's author is getting the opportunity to meet the people who inspired you (although anyone is welcome at Susan's events so it's not really an authorly thing) - the chance to meet one of your real-life heroes. It's not often you get the chance to say a quiet and heartfelt thank you to an author who made you a very happy child.

For a full list of Susan's tour dates, check out the Random House website. It's sure to be fascinating.


Sue Bursztynski said...

She varies. The Boggart was about a Boggart from a Scottish castle who accidentally gets carried to Canada in a cabinet drawer and just wants to go home. King of Shadows was different again: boy actor from North Carolina finds himself in Elizabethan England, playing Puck to Shakespeare's Oberon. Both lovely books and very different from The Dark Is Rising. I was a young teacher in my first year out when I discovered this series and the whole school was reading it! I ended up lending my copy of Silver On The Tree to the librarian. :) yes, let's NOT think of the film....

I met Susan Cooper once, at a library conference in Tasmania and everyone was acting like fan girls, including me.

Katherine Roberts said...

I'm going to the World Fantasy Convention so will see her there!

Katherine Langrish said...

I adore 'Seaward' but never much liked 'The Dark Is Rising' series. Have heard mixed reactions to 'Ghost Hawk'.