Hello everyone and welcome to Gabrille’s Kent’s “Alfie Bloom and the Talisman Thief blog tour. This is the second book in the series, and I am very happy to welcome Gabrielle today on chouett.com where she shares with us her TOP 5 favorites!!
There are lots of things I am happy with in the Alfie Bloom series. I can’t mention some of them yet as there a few secrets left to be revealed in future books, but I thought I’d share with you five of my favourite things and characters in the books, along with my inspiration for them.
I always loved stories with flying carpets and wanted Alfie to have one too, but I didn’t want any ordinary carpet, this one had to have personality. But how do you give a carpet personality outside of an animation? I finally hit upon the answer, what better way to travel than a flying, talking bearskin rug! Artan means ‘little bear’ and this not-so-little bear is very popular with my readers. Artan is fiercely loyal, has a hot temper and is overly fond of puns. When writing I didn’t really think that my story would be translated into many other languages. Unfortunately my puns are creating quite a headache for translators in France, Germany, Poland, Turkey, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I’m sorry, blame Artan!
Alfie’s best friend Amy Siu is one of my favourite characters. She was originally written as a boy called Danny Chapman. I didn’t like the skewed gender balance of the group of friends and decided to flip Danny’s gender. I also stole the last name of a friend, Mike Siu. Before I knew it Danny had turned from a Caucasian boy into a mixed race girl. Very little changed apart from the name. I even left in the little crush Alfie’s cousin Madeleine had on Danny, except now it’s a girl crush with Madeleine trying to emulate Amy and earn her approval. I considered cutting a scene where Amy pretended to know kung fu to scare off a group of bullies as I worried it was stereotyping her, however I decided it would be worse to change the scene just because I had changed the character’s ethnic background to Asian.
Muninn and Bone. Established 1086
Caspian Bone is Alfie’s shapeshifting solicitor. He is incredibly arrogant, short of patience and a testament to the fact that just because someone is good doesn’t mean they have to be a nice person. Caspian can transform into a raven and sometimes calls on the help of his fellow ravens. His firm is called Muninn and Bone and is situated in a secret location which requires a very strange coach journey to get there. There are lots of questions to be answered about the firm over the series, but there’s a clue to Caspian’s business partner in the title of the firm, if you know your Norse mythology.
I have always adored castles and still dreaming of living in one of my very own. Hexbridge Castle is a mix of many of my favourites, from Castell Coch near Cardiff which houses the Fates above the fireplace, Helmsley castle sitting on a hill overlooking the village, Alnwick castle with its shiny coaches, Bolton castle with its large courtyard, and Skipton castle which houses a yew tree that I’ll swear is a portal to another realm.
Alfie’s sprightly, mischievous Granny is very much influenced by my Granny Dempsey who ran a farm in Galway/Roscommon. She always wore trousers and would tell the most fantastic stories about magical happenings that she swore were absolutely true. She would take every kiss I planted on her cheek and store it in a tin on top of the kitchen cupboard to trade with the fair folk. Mum and her sisters told me that Granny’s bizarre stories would give them nightmares when they were little. Granny Merryweather mentions a lis (ringfort/fairy mound) in The Talisman thief. There was a lis at the entrance to my granny’s farm and everyone in the family had witnessed strange things there. One day my cousin and I set out to conquer our fear of it and we beat a path through the briars as we sang and marched three times widdershins. As we squeezed through the bushes and trees to leave we found that while it was still daylight in the lis, the sun had set outside. That was the last time I entered the lis!