Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Blog Tour/Author Interview - Katherine Langrish

West of the Moon
by Katherine Langrish

Summary: An epic and action-packed fantasy adventure that weaves together Norse legends, shadowy creatures and an unforgettable hero.

When Peer is orphaned he is taken by his wicked uncles to live at their foreboding mill in the shadow of Troll Fell. Here he meets beautiful and spirited Hilde and after a terrifying encounter with the sinister creatures who live below the fell the pair form an inseparable bond.

They are thirsty for adventure, so when a Viking longship docks at their village, they decide to set sail for Vinland – a mysterious place across the perilous sea. But are the ship's captain and his sword wielding son really honest sailors? What creatures lurk in the shadows and forests of the new land? And will Peer and Hilde ever return? Spanning years and continents and filled with brilliantly imagined characters and creatures, this is gripping, atmospheric fantasy at its best.
Sounds really awesome, doesn't it? I can't wait to read it, I should have a review up of it soon. Oh, and I really like the cover. Anyway, Kath has answered a few questions for us:

When did you discover you wanted to be an author?

My grandmother was an author, and my mother wrote short stories, so writing seemed a natural part of growing up to me – but I think I seriously formed the wish to be an author when I was about ten.  I’d just finished reading all the Narnia stories, and – desperate to know more about Narnia – began writing my own.  I’ve still got then: they’re called ‘Tales of Narnia’, and includes stories about peripheral Narnian characters like ‘The Seven Brothers of Shuddering Wood’, and ‘The Lapsed Bear of Stormness’. (This last was a poem. You want a taster?  “Many knights with him did battle/But he slaughtered them like cattle”: I wrote poetry to rival Noel Bastable’s.)  

Anyway, I filled an old blue notebook from cover to cover.  As far as I was concerned, I’d written a book.  I think it was then I knew, really, that I’d go on writing stories for my entire life. 

If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream job? (Logic was allowed to be thrown out of the window for this one)

If I had to move on from writing, I think I’d like to be a time traveller. It would be so cool to be able to travel back thousands of years and see Stonehenge being built, and find out what it was really for and what happened there.  Or visit America before Columbus, preferably in some kind of invisible time machine which could also fly, so I could travel all over the continent without affecting anyone and see the Snake Mounds of Ohio, and the  city mounds of Cahokia, Mississippi – six square miles of an ancient city bigger than medieval London.   But then you see, I suppose I’d write about it… so back to being an author after all. 

What is your favourite part of being an author? I read on your website that you got to visit old castles and go to Denmark and things, it has to be awesome being able to do that all in the name of research.

Yes, I went to Roskilde Fjord, and spent a midsummer week learning to sail on a replica Viking ship.  It was truly wonderful, and it’s great to have the excuse to do all sorts of wild and wonderful things in the name of research.  The Viking ship experience helped me to write authentically in the seafaring passages of ‘West of the Moon’.  And for my other book, ‘The Shadow Hunt’ (‘Dark Angels’ in the UK), I’ve crawled down a Roman copper mine along tunnels only a couple of feet high, and visited wolves, and walked along the wild skyline of Stiperstones in Shropshire to investigate the weird rocks called the Devil’s Chair.  I do love all this – though one friend trumped me by writing a book set on a Caribbean island… but I think many other authors would agree with me that the most euphoric moment is when you write ‘The End’ on the very last page. 

If you could choose any world from any book to be a part of, which would you choose and why?

For my first choice I’d visit Earthsea and sail along the Dragon’s Run, or visit the villages of the Raft People on the night of the Long Dance and watch the stars setting in the sea.   After that I wouldn’t mind going to Middle Earth.  Not to the Shire: I live in rural Oxfordshire which is close enough to the Shire already – but maybe to Rivendell, so long as it was the Rivendell of ‘Lord of the Rings’ not ‘The Hobbit’, in which the elves strike me as rather annoying.  And of course, I’ve always longed to go to Narnia.  Imagine finding yourself in that winter wood with the lamp-post burning – or walking through spring woodlands with dryads peering out from leaves!

What is your definition of love?

There are many, many different kinds of love – romantic love, love between friends, love for a child or a parent, love for a pet, love for a homeland or a place… what on earth is it?  What do all these different kinds of love have in common?  I don’t know if I can define it, but it seems to me that all kinds of love take us out of ourselves and put something or someone else at the focus of our being.  Without love, we are trapped, one dimensional, unable to escape from the narrowness of self. With love, the world unfurls into many dimensions.    

You can find out more about Kath and her books on her website here: www.katherinelangrish.co.uk



  1. Winnie the Pooh did for me what Narnia did for you. At the age of nine, having read everything A.A. Milne had written, I started writing my own Pooh books and never looked back. The years of copying books by authors I admired was a serious apprenticeship, which continued into my early twenties. Mercifully I eventually found my own voice, and there's been no looking back for that either.

  2. I toyed with the idea of Rivendell too (LOTR)and Lothlorien but in the end it would have to be the high hall of Rohan, as realised by Alan Lee and John Howe.

  3. Many thanks for having me on your lovely blog!



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