I’m so excited to spotlight The School Between Winter and Fairyland today as well as share an interview I did with the author, Heather Fawcett!
Welcome Heather! Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off by introducing yourself?
Of course! I’m the author of the YA series Even the Darkest Stars, as well as three middle-grade books: Ember and the Ice Dragons, The Language of Ghosts, and of course, The School Between Winter and Fairyland. I live on Vancouver Island off the west coast of Canada and spend my spare time (when I’m not writing or reading) hiking, surfing, or anything else outside. I have a 14-pound cat named Artemis (a good part of that weight is in fluff, I swear).
How would you describe The School Between Winter and Fairyland in one sentence?
The School Between Winter and Fairyland is a magic boarding school story told from a servant’s perspective.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of The School Between Winter and Fairyland?
Autumn is a twelve-year-old servant at Inglenook School of Magic who, along with her Gran and (in her opinion) far too many older brothers, looks after the monsters in Inglenook’s menagerie. She yearns to be a student at Inglenook, but is mostly ignored or looked down upon by the students her age. Her best friend is a boggart and she has a dog named Choo, who is also known as the least magical dog in the world.
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
I always have an outline. Usually the characters end up roughly where I plan them to be, but often they take slightly different routes to get there as I learn more about them. For me personally, outlines are important, but so is not being rigid in sticking to them.
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
I think if I told you my favourite scene, I would have to give away a twist, so I’ll tell you my next-favourite: the scene where the famous and wealthy Chosen One, Cai Morrigan, visits Autumn’s humble servant family for dinner, and a great deal of awkwardness ensues (though not from Choo, of course, who loves everyone and is convinced that everyone loves him).
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed The School Between Winter and Fairyland?
I would recommend two older titles: The Boggart by Susan Collins, if you like boggarts, and The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, if you want more Welsh-inspired fantasy. I’d also recommend The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser, which is not fantasy but it also has some fun sibling dynamics.
What’s next for you? Anything you can share?
Not specifically, but I happy to say that I have several projects on the go right now which will hopefully be announced in the coming months!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Twelve-year-old Autumn Malog is a servant at the enchanting Inglenook School, where young magicians study to become the king’s future monster-hunters. Along with her Gran and three too many older brothers, she works as a beastkeeper, tending to Inglenook’s menagerie of terrifying monsters.
But when she isn’t mucking out the wyvern stalls or coaxing the resident boggart to behave, Autumn searches for clues about her twin brother’s mysterious disappearance. Everyone else thinks he was devoured by the feared Hollow Dragon, but Autumn is convinced she’s heard–and glimpsed–him calling to her from within the castle walls. But who will believe a lowly servant?
So when Cai Morrigan, the “Chosen One” prophesied to one day destroy the Hollow Dragon, comes to her for help, Autumn agrees on one condition: Together, they’ll search for her brother and uncover the dark truth at the heart of enchanting Inglenook School once and for all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I live on Vancouver Island, Canada, where I enjoy wandering around in the wilderness and only occasionally getting lost. I’ve also spent extended periods of time in Italy, where I learned very little Italian but ate quite a lot of pizza, and Ireland, where I searched half-successfully for puffins and selkies.
Before becoming a writer I worked, among other things, as an archaeologist, a technical writer, and a backstage assistant for a Shakespearean theatre company (which I could write several novels about). I have a Master’s degree in English Literature and briefly considered becoming a professor, before I realized it involved more than reading books, drinking excessive amounts of tea, and wearing colourful elbow patches.