Mixes historical events with russian fairytales
Describe the world of The Bear And The Nightingale…
The bulk takes place in a village in Muscovy – now Moscow and its surrounding region – in the 14th century. My heroine’s the daughter of a minor aristocrat and also the heir of a powerful and possibly magical lineage. She’s able to see the world in a way others don’t, which puts her at odds with her people – but might also be the only way she can save them. What’s the appeal of Russian fairytales?
I love the vivid tropes and characters: the firebird, the immortal sorcerer Kaschei the Deathless, magic horses. These things have a half-familiar strangeness I find enchanting. Also, often it’s the female character who’s the magical one, the clever one, who saves the day. I feel like women in western fairy tales often suit some ideal of passivity. How long did the book take to write?
It took a year to draft, but then it evolved beyond recognition. I did final edits five years after sitting down to draft the original version. I divided my first draft in two and completely rewrote the first half, and that became The Bear And The Nightingale! Which authors would you like to be compared to in a dream review?
Well, dream big I suppose! Tolkien, Philip Pullman, and because my writer DNA has a large chunk of historical fiction, Dorothy Dunnett.
The Bear And The Nightingale is published by Del Rey on 12 January.