Sheila grew by the coast in Sussex. She now lives in a land locked village but, when the wind blows, traffic on a distant motorway sounds like the sea. This is probably why her debut book, Sun Catcher, begins among Bronze Age cliff dwellers who live at the edge of an ocean, although she started writing it on a Great Western train on the journey to Bath Spa University where she was doing an MA.
Described as ‘a Game of Thrones for younger readers’ in the Guardian, Sun Catcher won the United Agents prize, was listed for the 2014 Branford Bose and has just has been translated into German. Storm Chaser and then Story Singer complete the fantasy trilogy.
If she hasn’t escaped to the sea-side to think about new adventures, or gone off to talk about books and writing in schools, bookshops and libraries, which she loves doing, she might occasionally be found in a local comprehensive school where many of her pupils love stories and reading. So does she.
On her 13th birthday Maia, who has been brought up by Tareth, the weaver and warrior who she has always believed is her father, falls into an adventure that will take her on a perilous journey to a kingdom poisoned by bitterness and jealousies. A kingdom that she must save. Tareth is no ordinary weaver – the silk he weaves sings of destiny and danger, of Maia’s future. Because she is no ordinary girl either. She has always been the flame-headed outsider among the Cliff Dwellers, but she doesn’t want to listen to the song of the silk, or to the terrifying words of the village Watcher. Guarding her secret, denying her future, Maia steps into places she has never explored where she’ll encounter mercenaries, spies, friends and enemies. And where she will face her destiny as a Sun Catcher.
Silk whispers. Clouds gather. A storm is coming.
Many years ago, a storm brought Maia to the cliffs. Now she is Sun Catcher in the land of Khandar, but when her father, Tareth, needs silk, Maia must go back to the clifftops she once fled. Danger awaits her every step of the way: assassins, thought-stealers, the Marsh Lord – all greedy for her power. And Razek, who deserted his people to follow her, must pay a high price as he tries to bend wind and rain to his will – and chase away the storms.
The land of Khandar needs silk. The moths must dance in the palace garden and Tareth must weave once again.
As Maia races across the Vast with the last of the cocoons, she knows the future of the Sun City lies in her hands. But her sister, Elin, will stop at nothing to steal back what was hers and see Caspia crowned as Sun Catcher and Queen.
The silk sighs its secrets and Maia realises that now, more than ever, she must find a Story Singer to sing by her side.
Excellent. Honest. Useful. Motivating. Great advice.- Sheila Rance