Harry Potter withdrawals got you down? We have the answer.
Dubbed as the next J.K Rowling, Australian author, Jessica Townsend, is delighting readers of all ages with her Nevermoor series. And while there are pros and cons to being compared to J.K Rowling and Harry Potter, Jessica says it’s actually “really weird.”
Speaking to Kinderling Conversation, Jessica says, “It’s a really weird thing and I think it’s a really generous thing for people to say.”
“I’m a huge J.K. Rowling fan. I’m a big Harry Potter fan, and I think that people are always kind of optimistically hoping a book will come along that will kind of make them feel the way that Harry Potter does, so I think it’s a lovely, sweet, optimistic kind of thought,” she adds.
Listen to Jessica Townsend:
So, who is Morrigan Crow?
The Nevermoor series is all about Morrigan Crow, a ten-year-old girl who also happens to be cursed. The curse means she is blamed for literally everything, from heart attacks to hail storms. Another downside to her curse is that she knows when she is going to die, at midnight on her 11th birthday.
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“She’s supposed to die on her next birthday, but of course that would be a terrible book,” explains Jessica.
Where is Nevermoor?
Instead, Morrigan gets a second chance.
“She sort of gets spirited away. She’s rescued, and she gets to have this new start in life in this magical secret city called Nevermoor, where she’s been invited to compete against hundreds of other children for a place in the wondrous society which is full of extraordinary people with remarkable talents.”
The only problem is that she doesn’t have a special talent, but somehow we doubt that’s true.
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While the first book, Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, was ten years in the making, Jessica says she has planned it as a nine-part book series.
“So all up, it’s now been about 15 years from the very first kernel of the idea,” says Jessica adding that she has “hundreds of thousands of words” stored on her laptop for the future books.
“I will go back through folders and folders and folders and go down the rabbit hole and find things that I wrote seven years ago and think, oh, I forgot about that. Great, I’ll put that in the next one, which is quite fun.”
Although aimed at children eight to 12 years old, much like Harry Potter, children and adults of all ages are raving about it, especially since the second book, Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow, was released in October this year.
Great girl heroes
It’s always great to see a strong female lead, but Jessica said it never even occurred to her to write the story from a boy’s perspective.
“In hindsight, I’m really pleased that I did [have a female lead] because it’s important that we have great girl heroes,” she says.
“In the past ten, 20 and 30 years there have been a lot more boy heroes written, but all of the ones that I loved had girl heroes at the heart. You know, it was Matilda, and it was Fern in Charlotte’s Web, and I loved Hermione Granger.
“My favourite books as a teenager were John Marsden’s Tomorrow When the War Began series. Ellie Linton, to this day, she is my favourite literary heroine, so I guess that was just the kind of story that I wanted to write and all of the girls that I know are fabulous and brave and interesting and flawed.”