Q&A with Abi Elphinstone

Q&A with Abi Elphinstone

Abi Elphinstone's The Shadow Keeper, a sequel to The Dreamsnatcher, is out in February from Simon & Schuster.

What is The Shadow Keeper about?

Outlawed from the forest, Moll, Sid, Alfie and wildcat Gryff, continue their adventures in a secret cave by the sea. They must find an amulet of truth to force the Shadowmasks back but there are smugglers to sneak past, creatures to outwit and codes to crack.

How have the characters changed from book one?

The Shadow Keeper is about the sea and all the magic found there but it is also about friendship. Moll has learned to trust others but when she discovers the truth about Alfie’s past, her barriers spring up. Sid has learned to be brave—in The Shadow Keeper he even stands up to Moll! And we see Gryff’s vulnerability, which allows Alfie the space to grieve for a past he cannot undo.

Were you surprised by the success of the first book?

I had no expectations; I held fast onto something [author] Non Pratt posted on Twitter—I can’t remember her exact words, but the sentiment was: remember the dream is to be given the privilege to be told you can keep on writing—and treat everything above and beyond that as a bonus. I was bowled over by the reviews from the press and bloggers, but perhaps even more exciting are the letters, messages and fan art I’ve received from children. I’ve done 97 school visits this year and it seems that wild kids and catapults go down all right.

Wwhat else are you working on?

I’m writing a third book in my Romany gypsy trilogy. It’s an adventure in the northern wilderness—my take on Scotland—and there are lost isles, rambling moors, clattering gorges and a dyslexic selkie. After that I’ve got an Arctic series in the planning and I’m off to camp under a polar night in the Lofoten Islands to kick-start my world building.