Interview with Becky York

Everyone wants to write a children’s book, but why did you?
It sort of occurred by accident. I got the inspiration and went for it!
So, what gave you the inspiration?
Several years ago a girl said to me that “the thing about Harry Potter is that you actually go to Hogwarts.” When I thought about that comment I realised that the she had identified exactly what I had liked about children’s books when I was a child – the idea of going off to somewhere where adventures could happen, a magical space where the ordinary rules don't apply. Like going on holiday.
How did you achieve that in Roland?
I wanted to create a place which the characters could explore, and which was also a way for them to get to other magical worlds. I liked the idea of a castle, but one which was still fulfilling its original function as a defensive position as well as being a horde of treasures the good guys could use to defend it.
How does it differ from Harry Potter?
I wanted the child characters to be a lot more in control than harry and his friends – not to be bound by school rules. Roland is young, but he is the young master of the castle, with Firebrace as his guide and mentor – but he will have to grow up quickly and learn to do without a mentor due to the threats that are now ranged against the castle. I didn’t want it to be a school, because obviously that had been done. I also wanted my characters to be freer, not to have to fit in with school life with school rules but to be directly responsible – more like The Famous Five books where the kids are left to their own devices – whichever aunt they are staying with this time packs up their picnic basket with potted meat and other delicacies and they go off on their own to save the world…
How does the central character differ from HP?
Roland does not have magical powers, but he still has a destiny. and he has his own wits and strength. He is more like a normal boy His ancient forbears were commoners who built the castle to keep the special location safe. He also is much freer than harry. He is a young boy but through circumstances has been left in charge of the castle and he must learn by his own mistakes. Firebrace is there as a guide, but even he cannot be with Roland all the time, gradually Roland takes more decisions and responsibility and Firebrace’s role fades…
Why are there no dragons in Roland?
Even as a kid I didn’t like dragons, and I think they have been overdone, so I don’t do them.
Who are the enemy in Roland – the Spirus? What are they meant to be?
They are suits of armour with something inexplicable inside – a life force that gives them energy and moves them around.
Isn't that a bit odd for a story about medieval knights?
Not if you actually go back into the medieval literature. The original Arthurian stories featured such beings. There is even a book all about them - http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/15383.html
Published 2016-03-16.
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Books by This Author

Roland's Castle
Price: Free! Words: 76,920. Language: English. Published: March 17, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00 from 1 review)
Eleven year old Roland has been left in charge of his family’s castle. He does not know its many magical secrets but when a dangerous enemy attack he must learn quickly. Luckily he has good friends as well as an elderly and mysterious mentor. The defence of the castle will result in Roland leading his friends on a great quest for reinforcements that will take them to new, mysterious worlds.