Thursday, 25 February 2021

Interview with Children's Author Tamsin Mori - The Weather Weaver (Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books)


Hello Everybody. We hope you are all feeling more positive about the future. Reading is certainly a good way to help raise the spirits.  One of our children's book picks for March 2021 is The Weather Weaver by Tamsin Mori. The book will be published by UCLan Publishing on the 4th March 2021. We thought this was a cracking opportunity to contact the author and ask some questions to find out more about this wonderful book and the amazing cover you can see above. 

We really hope you enjoy reading this post as much as we did asking the questions. If you would like to know more about the author of the book you can drop us both a tweet on Twitter: @Enchantedbooks or @MoriTamsin Thanks for reading and have a nice day.


Can you reveal a bit more about the book than what the synopsis tells us? That's very tricky without spoilers, but hopefully, the answers to the rest of these questions will give you some clues.


When did you get the first idea about writing this book?

The seeds of the story were sown when I was very small. Whenever we went back to Shetland to visit family, I didn't want to leave. I realised that if the fog came in, the planes couldn't leave, and we'd get to stay a little longer, so I used all my powers of persuasion to call in the fog. I wrote poems, spells, secret recipes... And sometimes, it worked! Once, we got a whole extra week in Shetland. The fog had heard me. At that point, I became convinced that I had secret weather powers of my own. 


Stella, who is the main character in the book, discovers she is a Weather Weaver. What is a Weather Weaver and how important is this to the plot?

A weather weaver is someone who can choose the weather - usually with the help of a cloud who's taken a liking to them. 

Weather Weaving is fairly central to the plot - early in the book, Stella catches a small but very feisty cloud. Their early attempts at weather weaving are erratic, verging on dangerous. It takes a close relationship, an amount of self-awareness, and great deal of trust, to be able to conjure different weathers at will. Stella and her cloud find almost every aspect of that quite challenging! But with Tamar as her mentor, Stella is in good hands.


What made you write a book set in the Shetland Islands?

Shetland is my heart's home. Though I've never lived there, half my family are Shetlanders - my mum grew up in Scalloway. All the stories I loved when I was small originated in Shetland - both island myths and family legends - and they took root in my imagination. Most of the traditional myths belong to the land, or the sea - I wanted to write one that celebrated the wide, expressive Shetland skies.


What are the top things to do when visiting the Shetland Islands? (We'd really like to visit the Shetland Islands)

That could fill several books and besides, it depends what time of year you go there! 

In winter, there's the northern lights (the mirrie dancers), and the viking festival, Up Helly Ah! 

The Weather Weaver is set in summer, which is perfect for puffin spotting - the RSPB sanctuary at Sumburgh lighthouse is a great location for that. If you want to visit the broch which features in the book, the boat trip to Mousa is a must. You can see a multitude of amazing seabirds there - bonxies, guillemots, arctic terns, and storm petrels - and climb to the top of the broch for yourself! Though, fair warning, it's a long way up. In Lerwick, the Shetland Times Bookshop is a favourite haunt of mine (surprise!). The Shetland Museum and Mareel are both definitely worth a visit and the Peerie Shop makes outstanding Cullen Skink. There's also whale watching, the otter sanctuary, Shetland Wool Week, awesome food, incredible unspoilt landscape and empty beaches... sigh. I can't wait to get back there.


What emotions do you want the reader to experience when reading this book?

All of them! One of the key themes in the book is that there aren't any 'bad' emotions - every single one has its place and its purpose. Different weathers reflect and respond to our different moods - emotions as wide as the sky. Stella discovers that, though perhaps a little too late...


What would be your favourite type of weather day?

Bright and blustery, perhaps with a few showers and rainbows to liven things up a bit. Though having said that, I do love a good thunderstorm!


You went to eight different schools in your childhood. Do you think you have gained any skills/attributes by going to so many? 

I think it taught me self-reliance, and perhaps gave me an insight into the similarities and subtle differences between how people think and behave in different places. I wouldn't recommend it, but it was useful in the story. Stella experiences some of that sense of displacement and a deep longing to belong. 


What do you think of the book cover illustration and did you have any input into it?

I adore the cover illustration. David Dean has captured the full spectrum of weather magic, with Stella standing small and brave in the centre. I was bowled over when I first saw it: "It's like David read my mind!". My husband pointed out that it was more likely he'd read my book.

I was delighted that UCLAN publishing asked for my input, though to be honest, David created an illustration that immediately felt right for the book. The only thing I was picky about was Grandpa's but'n'ben (a type of small, simple building) on the back cover - it was a grand two-storey house in the first iteration. 


What books do you read for pleasure? Is there anything that stands out for you recently? 

I read a real mixture of books - middle-grade, YA, adult fiction, and non-fiction too. Some middle-grade books that I've adored recently are: Vi Spy, by the brilliant Maz Evans, The Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson, and Gargantis by Thomas Taylor. I'm waiting impatiently to jump into A Tangle of Spells by Michelle Harrison, but my daughter has first dibs.


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