A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
Last week Feathers, the second book in Rose Mannering’s trilogy of YA fairytale retellings, flew onto bookshop shelves. Having read and loved Roses, the first book in the series, I jumped at the chance to interview Rose and find out more!
Ode was never meant to be born. An outcast from birth, he discovered how to control his unique, remarkable gift entirely on his own. Unlike the other people of his tribe, Ode can fly. Sometimes his body will shudder and shift, and then Ode will transform. He becomes a great white bird with feathers as pale as the snow. He becomes a swan. He can fly above the tribe’s tepees and soar over the emerald forests of the Wild Lands.
But even with his gift, he cannot save his family from the oncoming war. The Magical Cleansing is spreading across the realm, and strangers arrive from foreign lands bringing with them bloodshed and fear. With the help of his gift, Ode flees to a distant island where answers, Magic, and a girl with golden hair await him. He must be brave, and he must be wise. And he must never turn back.
Hi Rose! Can you start by telling us a little about Feathers?
Feathers is the story of Ode, a young boy with a special gift that feels more like a curse. Sometimes, without wanting to, Ode’s body will shiver and twist and he will transform into a swan.
What was the inspiration behind writing a series of fairytale retellings?
I adore fairy tales and I’ve always loved reading retellings myself so I wanted to try weaving together a series of retellings into an overarching storyline of my own. I love the magic and the beauty of fairy tales – they are so timeless.
Your writing beautifully combines original fantasy worlds with familiar fairytale elements. How do you approach world-building? Do you ever feel constrained by the fairytale you’re retelling?
Thank you, that’s such a compliment! I actually really love the structure of the fairy tale – I enjoy trying to be innovative in those constraints and weave something new around an old structure.
What can we expect from the third book in the trilogy?
Hmm I don’t want to give too much away, but you can expect: golden hair, deadly magic and a few familiar faces!
Thank you! I really love them too. I didn’t have a lot of input, but I’m so pleased with what my publisher created.
I love them both for different reasons. The picture books are very collaborative because after I’ve written the text, I work with an illustrator together to find the perfect marriage of the text with the images (so both get changed and tweaked throughout the process). Writing can be very lonely, so working with someone else on a project is really fun.
But then equally, I love my own writing because it is completely mine. As an introvert, I love the opportunity to escape into my imagination and stay there for as long as I like with no limits. It’s great!
You run a successful Booktube channel (this one!), with all sorts of fun and informative videos around writing and books. What do you enjoy most about Booktube?
Thank you! This whole interview is like a great big compliment ;). I love my booktube channel and I’m so pleased that I created it. It’s a wonderful way of connecting with fellow book-lovers and its introduced me to so many writers and novels that I would never have known about otherwise. If you love books, I recommend diving right into the community – but I warn you, it’s very easy to get sucked in!
As well as writing and making videos, you work in publishing. (You’ve got fingers in all sorts of exciting book-related pies!) Has your job affected the way you approach writing or reading?
Haha I know! I’m just a very bookish person ;). I would say that working in publishing has definitely brought new depth and understanding to my knowledge of the world of books and how they come to fruition. It’s crazy to see the ‘back stage’ of the bookish world!
What’s next for you?
I really don’t know! I’ve had a bit of a break from writing while I got married so I’m excited to roll my metaphorical sleeves up and get back into it. I’ve so enjoyed writing fantasy and fairy tale retellings, but I wonder if it might be time to try something a little different!
Thanks for a great chat, Rose, and congratulations on Feathers!
Rose Mannering is an author and lifelong book lover. By day she works in publishing and by night she dreams up dragons, unicorns, curses that last hundreds of years, and boys who turn into swans. She writes The Tales Trilogy for YA fantasy and fairy-tale lovers with Roses and Feathers in the series currently being available, and she also writes picture books for little readers with big hearts. When she’s not deep in fantastical realms, Rose is uploading videos to her book-based YouTube Channel, tweeting about what she’s reading, or snapping pretty instagram pictures of paperbacks.
Kendra is a YA author. Glimpse, her debut novel, was inspired by Alfred Noyes’ poem ‘The Highwayman’. It was published in 2014 by Constable & Robinson. Kendra also runs an organic chocolate company. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found taste-testing chocolate, reading YA, or trying to steal other people’s cats.