Thursday 5 August 2021

The Raven Heir Is Healing

Ok, this is kinda breaking my Summer of Love plans but you know me, I like to mix things up! And what better what to mix things up than to show off a guest post written by the lovely Stephanie Burgis, author of the coming soon middle-grade fantasy, The Raven Heir?

The first in the Raven Crown series follow Cordelia and her triplet siblings, Rosalind and Giles who are safely living in a castle at the centre of a forest, protected by spells that their mother have woven. But when the outside world comes crashing into their home, the triplets find themselves in danger. Two rivals and their solders have come for them as whoever is the eldest is heir to the throne. 

But since the Raven Crown was broken, no one has been abled to rule the kingdom and live. So when their mother refuses to tell and she is taken prisoner, the triplets have to go on the run and soon, their realise that deep magic is at work and the three might be the ones to save the kingdom devastated by a war that has raged for generations. They might, also, be the ones to tear their family apart.

And here I am with an guest post about... well, I'm going to leave it as a surprise, but I enjoyed myself hugely reading this and it's making me itch to go to a garden centre! This looks like it's going to be fun magical middle grade so can't wait to read and share my thoughts on at a later date... 

Now, before I share the extract, just want to thank Blue from Kaleidoscopic Tours for allowing me to nip in on this tour! And I want to thank Stephanie for writing g this post. I know she must be super busy with Raven Heir, so am thrilled she found time to write this! Oh, if you are curious on this or any of Stephanie's other stories, you can always visit her website at, or you can send her a quick hello tweet at @stephanieburgis!

Ok, you guys have waited long enough. Here is Stephanie's guest post for your reading pleasure!

Edit letters for a book are often challenging, pushing writers past our personal comfort zones to make our books the best possible versions of themselves. My edit letter for The Raven Heir arrived at the most difficult point in my life thus far, just after our first national lockdown had begun and just as my family had been hit with our own first round of covid-19 (one of two brutal rounds that we would all end up enduring over the course of 2020-2021). 

I was incredibly lucky that I had a very mild case, that first time. My husband wasn’t so lucky, though – and as I struggled to look after both him and our young children (both of whom were, of course, home fulltime throughout lockdown), fighting to keep our household running and keep the atmosphere as positive for our children as possible (even as ambulances carried their dad away from home more than once in the middle of the night), the stress of my own reality felt completely overwhelming. The idea of taking on any real creative challenge – even rewriting my own novel into a stronger, sleeker shape – seemed, at first, to be completely inconceivable. How could I get past all those whirling fears and worries and distractions to dive into a creative headspace again?

What saved me, in the end, was exactly what saves my heroine, again and again, in The Raven Heir. It was nature – or, in my case, the modest patch of nature in our small, rectangular back garden, which was filled with trees, bushes, and wildflowers, and which was left to go fairly wild across the course of that whole spring and summer, with my gardening husband stuck in his sickbed.

No one in any gardening show would have been impressed by the looks of our garden in 2020...but the first time I ever managed to start brainstorming solutions for my novel edits came when I first brought my printed manuscript pages out to the weathered old picnic table in our garden. The leaves of the Japanese maple tree cast shadows across my pages, bees and butterflies buzzed around the hollyhocks in front of me, and the mountains of our small Welsh town rose high in the distance all around me like a cradle, giving me a steadying reminder of their endurance and a larger perspective on the world. 

With a warm, scented breeze playing over my hands, I finally started scribbling notes on the manuscripts, asking questions of myself and dreaming possible answers for the first time in weeks.

Cordelia, the heroine of The Raven Heir, is often teased by her triplets for being ‘feral,’ because she has a wild, shapeshifter’s heart, and she can turn herself into any sort of animal. It’s all part of her deep connection to the land under and around her – and it’s that connection that consoles her and guides her on her quest when she and her triplets discover that everything they thought they knew about their family and the world beyond their first home was untrue.

‘Nature is healing’ was a line used so often during 2020 that it became a joke, a fabulously viral source of endless memes. Nature does heal, though – or at least, it can sustain us when we most need it, if we can only find ways to reconnect ourselves, even in the smallest of ways, with the larger natural world around us. If you’re lucky, maybe you can even do that by going somewhere like the top of a mountain or the middle of a forest – but even a patch of grass under a tree in a city park can be truly lifesaving.

My own patch of garden was lifesaving for me. It gave me a feeling of renewed possibility and a badly-needed escape during the hardest year of my life. I hope that The Raven Heir (and its wild, nature-loving heroine!) can give readers both of those gifts whenever they escape into it, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment