This is my second book, and was published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia in March 2008 and by Candlewick Press in the US in Feb 2009.
Daughter of the Flames was listed in the American Library Associations Teen's Top Ten, was nominated for a 2009 Cybil Award and for the Amelia Bloomer Project. What's the story behind this story? Well, after I finished my first book, The Swan Kingdom, I decided to take a month or two off to relax and catch up with emails, friends, reading, that sort of thing. Unfortunately for my plans, as soon as I typed 'The End', a new character popped up in my mind.
I tried to ignore her. I tried to tell her I needed some time off. I tried to ask her to come back later. She did not listen. She shouted for attention non-stop, day and night, haunting my dreams and shoving intriguing images before my eyes (this happens to writers quite often, and doesn't really mean I'm mad. Probably).
Gradually I came to know this extraordinary character, and her story became clear to me. It was like nothing I'd ever written before. When I finally gave in and began scribbling, I managed to finish the story in about four months flat.
As I worked I on this book I also worked out a lot of my frustrations about the fantasy books I was finding on the shelves. I was puzzled and annoyed by the fact that practically no fantasy novels had main characters who weren't white. I never found any books that showed a mixed race relationship, even though these are an everyday thing in the real world.I had also noticed that characters with strong religious beliefs tended to be painted as the villains (and usually insane as well).
Something else that left me a little bewildered was the lack of heroines and heroes who weren't perfect. You hardly ever saw main characters who had to struggle with physical disability like people do in real life, but who managed to save others anyway. There were lots of books set in the modern world that dealt with these things, but, as far as I could find, very little fantasy.
The result of all these thoughts was Daughter of the Flames, a rather unusual book which I think will surprise people.
You can download the first chapter for free here.
And here's a book trailer I made to give you a taste of the story. Hope you like it.