1. Gryff, the wildcat that befriends Moll, started out as an owl called Cobweb in my first draft. But very quickly, I realised I wanted something wilder, an animal that could run beside Moll and protect her from Skull. So I chose the only animal that can’t be tamed: a wildcat. And when I picture Gryff in my head, he’s a cross between a wildcat and a snow leopard (I often write in a snow leopard onesie!).
2. There is a river chase scene in The Dreamsnatcher and it’s based on my childhood memories of racing down Scottish river rapids on lilos with my siblings.
3. As part of my book research, I danced wooden puppets and ‘played the bones’ with one of the last real Romany gypsies in England: Peter Ingram. When he was younger, Peter hand-painted Roald Dahl’s wagon for the film premiere of Danny, The Champion of the World.
4. Moll unearths a secret poem in The Dreamsnatcher. The rhythm and feel of this poem is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s beautiful poem, Annabel Lee.
5. Both Philip Pullman and Eoin Colfer gave me advice on early drafts of The Dreamsnatcher. Eoin Colfer told me to go easy on flowery language and whittle down the adverbs and Philip Pullman told me a secret to get my characters into another world – if they ever want to go there – which, knowing them, they might.
6. On the day my book deal was announced (10th March 2013), I hang-glided over Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. I had planned to do it as book research for the sequel but when I heard the book deal news it just felt like one GIANT jump for joy!
7. In the sequel to The Dreamsnatcher, I have a street urchin character called Smog Sprockett. He was named after a cocktail I had at Wilton’s Music Hall in East London.
8. For every character (except Moll) I have a film star in mind who resembles them. Alfie is modeled on Alex Pettyfer when he played Tom Browne in Tom Browne’s School Days and there’s a little bit of George Clooney in Oak.
9. Like Moll, I have a recurring nightmare. It’s about a shark chasing after me in a dark, cold ocean. But I also have a recurring happy dream – and that’s when I’m riding Gryff (snow leopard size in my dreams!) across the Arctic ice plains, just like Lyra did on Iorek Byrnison.
10. My favourite comment from my editor on my book was: ‘Moll must wear clothes’. I think I had her in a nightie for ages at one point. But that’s what happens when the Dreamsnatcher steals you out of bed night after night…
Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life. Because Moll is more important than she knows… The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat who has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure. Perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling, Michelle Harrison and Eva Ibbotson.
Expected publication: February 26th 2015 by Simon & Schuster Children’s
Check it out on Goodreads
About the Author
Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher in Africa, Berkshire and London. The Dreamsnatcher is her debut novel and when she’s not writing about Moll and Gryff, she runs her the children’s books blog www.moontrug.com.