Celebrating Debutantes 2016: The Voyage to Magical North by Claire Fayers (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Celebrating Debutantes 2016 Second Wave

I’m so excited for my first feature post for the second wave of Celebrating Debutantes, not only because I have a wonderful author and book to feature but also because I know you will all love today’s stop.

Author Clare Fayers is on the blog today for an interview about her middle-grade fantasy fiction The Voyage to Magical North. This delightful book is a must read for fantasy readers. If you’re looking for fun, adventurous read with magic, monsters, pirates and piraña-like penguins, this book is definitely for you. And the best news, this is only the first installment of a three books series. Yes, that is right, Clare get a three books deal for her debut novel.

Following my interview with Clare is her bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to buy copies of The Voyage to Magical North. Trust me, you need to get a copy of this book. And for a chance to own one, check the bottom of the post for the special giveaway. There’s a signed copy that is up for grab and it is open to all. How cool is that? But before that, here’s my interview with Clare first. Enjoy reading!

Author Interview with Clare Fayers

Your debut novel The Voyage to Magical North is just a first book of a series. Congratulations! How thus it feel to have a three-book deal for a first time author like you?

Very exciting and a bit terrifying. On the one hand, a three-book deal meant I could afford to give up work and write full-time, which was amazing. On the other hand, I had an outline for book2 and I was reasonably confident about it, but book 3? No idea at all. I worried for months that the deal would fall through, that my publisher would change their minds and regret ever signing me. But then I got to know my editors (I have one in the US and one in the UK) and saw how much they loved Magical North and my confidence grew.

The best thing of all – I was expecting a quiet launch, but then Waterstones (the major UK bookstore chain) chose The Voyage to Magical North as their children’s book of the month for July. I had a tremendous month visiting stores in the UK for signings and launch events and there were big piratey window displays everywhere. It’s given me a whole new appreciation of book sellers and the fantastic work they do.

Now things are a little quieter, I’m back to working on book 2 and thinking ahead to the third book.

Wow! Congratulations again. I’m sure you had fun at launch events and signing. Meeting your readers and followers.

What led up to The Voyage to Magical North?

I started with the vaguest notion that I wanted to write something fun. It soon became obvious that my ideas of fun – magic, pirates, sword-fights and penguins – were not going to exist together in the real world.

The story really came together, though, with the character of Brine Seaborne. I started to wonder why a twelve-year-old girl would want to go to Magical North – a place so full of magic that if you stand there you can see the whole world. What did she want to see? Once I’d worked that out, the Onion’s quest became her quest to find out who she is and why she was abandoned as a child.

And why middle-grade? Do you think it is easier to write for younger audience than YA and adults?

I don’t think writing for any age group is easy. I didn’t deliberately set out to write for middle-grade; the story and the humour just seemed to fall naturally into that age group. But there is something very appealing about the middle-grade audience. The kids are just growing up and seeing all the possibilities of the world, yet they have very little control over their lives, which is immensely frustrating for them. Many of my characters are driven by the desire to go beyond the rules, to find out what they are capable of doing.

What aspect of storytelling is most challenging for you, and how do you develop your weak areas?

That is such an interesting question! There are so many things I’m still learning. One thing I really had to get to grips with is viewpoint. I tell the story in the third person and switch between my main characters, and it is very easy to slip out of someone’s thoughts and feelings. Thanks to my agent (who is a great editor) I pause every paragraph or two now and ask “and how is x feeling about this?” If I don’t know, then I know I’m slipping out of their head. It sounds like a small thing, but it’s made a great difference to the book, because things tend to get more exciting when you’re really connecting with the characters.

That’s actually a good advice for writers. Thank you for sharing that to us.

Fantasy is such an exciting genre – you can create whole new worlds without much limitations. Do you have any advice for writers when they’re building these worlds? How can you make sure they seem authentic?

You don’t have to think of everything straight away. I started with a basic concept that the world would consist of small islands, most of them ruled individually, and there’d be lots of sea travel, and magic. Other things grew out of that – the different island, how magic works, the way people view magicians. You do need to be consistent, though. If you establish a rule, you can build on it but you can’t overturn it. Consistency gives a real sense of depth as you build up your world, each new idea fitting into what’s already there.

The Voyage to Magical North has a diverse cast of characters. Is it intentional or byproduct of the writing process?

Brine’s nationality is deliberate. She’s trying to find out where she belongs in the world so I wanted her to stand out physically as not belonging. The rest of it is a byproduct of the world, which is composed of vast oceans and scattered islands. It made sense to me that people on the different islands would look different and have different customs and cultures. And the crew of the Onion come from all over the world, so there’s quite a mix.

Without too much spoiler, tell us about the next book of The Voyage to Magical North

Following a clue that Brine might have come from a lost island in the Western Ocean, the Onion sails west and soon the crew are braving giant spiders, man-eating plants and maybe even dinosaurs in the land that Brine forgot.

Thank you so much Claire for stopping by today and for taking the time to answer all my questions above. I’m looking forward to the next adventure of Brine and Peter.


Author Clare FayersClaire Fayers lives in South Wales with her husband and as many cats as she can get away with. She used to work in a science library, but now writes full-time, which is the best job ever. She likes skiing, kite-flying, playing the cello and dinosaurs.

Find Claire

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter


Book Details:

The Voyage to Magical NorthTitle: The Voyage to Magical North
Author: Claire Fayers
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: July 05, 2016
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Twelve-year-old Brine Seaborne is a girl with a past–if only she could remember what it is. Found alone in a rowboat as a child, clutching a shard of the rare starshell needed for spell-casting, she’s spent the past years keeping house for an irritable magician and his obnoxious apprentice, Peter.

When Brine and Peter get themselves into a load of trouble and flee, they blunder into the path of the legendary pirate ship the Onion. Before you can say “pieces of eight,” they’re up to their necks in the pirates’ quest to find Magical North, a place so shrouded in secrets and myth that most people don’t even think it exists. If Brine is lucky, she may find out who her parents are. And if she’s unlucky, everyone on the ship will be eaten by sea monsters. It could really go either way.

Book Links:

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | Publisher


What’s up for Grab?

Giveaway The Voyage to Magical North

The Rules:

  • Open to International
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends August 27th, 2016
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each second wave feature post!

CD2016 Second Wave Collage

6 thoughts on “Celebrating Debutantes 2016: The Voyage to Magical North by Claire Fayers (Author Interview + Giveaway)

  1. Pingback: Celebrating Debutantes 2016: Second Wave Kick-Off! | BLACKPLUME

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