Tag Archives: Elizabeth Pulford

Interview with Elizabeth Pulford, author of Bloodtree Chronicles

Elizabeth Pulford is one of our great Kiwi authors.  She has written books for all ages, from picture books to novels for children, young adults and adults.  Elizabeth has two new books that have just been released, a picture book called Finding Monkey Moon and the first book in her fantastic new Bloodtree Chronicles series, Sanspell.  You can read my review of Bloodtree Chronicles: Sanspell here on the blog.

I had a few questions about the Bloodtree Chronicles and Elizabeth has very kindly answered them for me.  Read on to find out more about Elizabeth’s new series and her favourite story worlds.

  • What inspired you to write the Bloodtree Chronicles?

It was more a case of resistance in the beginning. I was having time away from writing in the garden when into my head slipped the first line of Sanspell. I told it to go away and that I wasn’t interested. Then an hour or so later the same line, word for word, arrived. I ignored it. Later than evening it made another appearance so I wrote it down, not really interested. Two days later I found the piece of paper and typed it into the computer. As soon as I did that my curiosity was stirred and I started to ask questions, eg ‘whose mother’s dress was it?’ It went on from there until the idea caught me completely and wouldn’t let me go.

  • In Sanspell, Abigail gets transported into the Silvering Kingdom, a magical place made of stories.  If you could be transported into a story, which one would you choose?

Definitely the Robin Hood stories. I would love to be in his gang and living in Sherwood Forest.

  • What sort of character would you be in the Silvering Kingdom?

Zezmena. I always think villains are so interesting. What makes them behave the way they do? What makes them tick? Trying to find the one redeeming quality that they keep hidden beneath all their evil deeds.

  • What is your favourite fantasy world?

The Magic Faraway Tree world created by Enid Blyton. Growing up there was an old apple tree in our garden. I kept wishing for this to be the same as the Faraway Tree and that Moonface would appear. Sadly it never happened!

  • In the next two books in the Bloodtree Chronicles you take us to Bragonsthyme and Thatchthorpe. Can you give us a taste of what Abigail might find in these stories?

The Bragonsthyme’s story is frozen. To be a proper fairy story it needs to have a happy ending, otherwise it cannot help the Bloodtree to heal. It is up to Abigail / Spindale (with help from Flint and Bramble) to find its ending.

In Thatchthorpe the King of Silvering Kingdom dies. Rackenard sees his chance to rule, thereby putting the Bloodtree at a greater risk than it has ever been. The only way to stop this happening is finding the two parts of the magical code, which will reveal to the people of the kingdom who is the true king.

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Bloodtree Chronicles: Sanspell by Elizabeth Pulford

Imagine that your mother suddenly starts packing a suitcase for you and tells you that the time has come and you must hurry.  She is sending you somewhere, but she doesn’t tell you where.  She tells you that this place is unlike anywhere you have ever been and when you get there you must call yourself a different name.  She gives you a locket that you should never remove from around your neck.  The next thing you know, you are standing in the snow in a strange land – a land that only you can save.

When the Bloodtree loses its last leaf, there will be no more stories in the Silvering Kingdom …The Silvering Kingdom is the home of fairy tales but the kingdom and all those within are in danger of vanishing because the Bloodtree – the source of all stories – has been poisoned. ‘Sanspell’ is a story that has been cursed. It is up to Abigail (Spindale) to enter the fairy tale world and save the story-tree. Together with Flint, whose mother Trinket is being held captive by the evil Rackenard, they set off on a journey: three drops of Trinket’s blood is what is required to save the tree. The race is on …but can they survive the wicked Zezmena’s spells?

Elizabeth Pulford emerses readers in her fantastic story of the Silvering Kingdom in Sanspell, the first book in her new series, Bloodtree Chronicles.  This is the sort of book that you just want to curl up with on a Winter’s day, wrapped in a blanket with a hot drink.  Elizabeth really makes you feel like you’ve been transported to the snowy Silvering Kingdom with Abigail.

Abigail loves stories and uses books as an escape from her life.  She doesn’t have many friends and is bullied at school, so she feels far from special.  However, when she is transported to the Silvering Kingdom and the Sanspell story she discovers that she is incredibly important and it is up to her to save the Bloodtree and the characters that inhabit the story.

Like Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart series this is a story about the magic of stories.  I love the way that Elizabeth Pulford has created the story within the story.  The story of the Silvering Kingdom is written by Abigail’s aunties and there is a visual record of the story on the walls of their house.  As the story changes, the illustrations change.  The aunties are so used to creating the story that when Abigail takes the story in her own direction they are not sure what to do.

Special mention needs to be made of Donovan Bixley’s stunning cover and design.  His cover is one that will catch the eyes of young readers and make them want to read this wonderful book.  The silver foil catches the light and highlights different parts depending on how you look at it.

Sanspell has me hooked on the Bloodtree Chronicles!  I can’t wait for Elizabeth Pulford to take me to Bragonsthyme and Thatchthorpe in the next two books in the series.

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Elizabeth Pulford talks about Broken

  • What inspired you to write Broken?
Several years ago I started a novel for younger children (two chapters) where the brother was missing and the sister knew he was in one of his comics (this was long before graphic art became popular) and then for some reason I left it. When I came across it three years ago I still liked the idea, but wanted it to be more than ‘just an adventure inside a comic,’ and I wanted it for older readers. So I pulled it out and started work. Or should I say I sat at the computer wondering how to make it into something different than I had ever done before. Slowly, slowly it began to happen. Then Trace appeared and when she did I knew she was talking to Zara in a coma. That was the turning point for me.
 
  • There are several different threads of the story; what is happening in the hospital room, Zara’s search for her brother, and Zara’s memories.  Did you write each of the threads separately and piece them together or did you write the story from start to finish?
Every day the story came to me in what felt like different pieces, but the end result is how they went down, were written at the time, bar editing etc. The truth was I just had to trust the writing process. I had no ‘map’ for the book, no preconceived ideas of what I wanted, or how it would turn out. I just simply carried on with my daily writing of ‘sections’ and followed the ‘threads’ and thankfully as the novel grew all the bits and pieces somehow it all fitted together.
 
  • Zara has a strong relationship with her brother, who she feels she can share everything with. Is the character of Jem based on your brother?
Goodness me – no! We are good friends, but beyond that…!  However, I did lose a brother when I was very young and he was even younger. Maybe the subconscious held onto that and allowed it to surface for this novel.
 
  • The style of the story is really unique. Why did you decide to tell parts of the story through Jem’s favourite comic?
It was there right from the beginning, as I said, when I started the book as a junior novel, at least ten years ago now. I just thought it would be fun and interesting to have someone believing that they were in a comic. In the world of make believe anything is possible, which is what I love about writing.
 
Elizabeth Pulford’s new YA novel, Broken, is out in Australia and NZ now.  You can read my review of Broken here on the blog.

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Broken by Elizabeth Pulford

When I first read about Elizabeth Pulford’s new book, Broken,  I thought it was an intriguing idea: the story of a girl trapped in a coma, interspersed with comic-style panels.  After some initial confusion about what was happening, I became wrapped up in the three strands of the story and got drawn in to Zara’s mind.

Critically injured in a motorbike accident, Zara Wilson lies in a coma. She is caught between many worlds: the world of her hospital room and anxious family, and that of her memories and a dream-like fantasy where she searches for her brother Jem. Jem proves elusive but Zara s adventures in her subconscious unlock dark secrets of a troubled childhood. Zara must face up to her past in order to accept her future.

Broken is unlike anything I’ve read before.  It’s a mystery, a family drama, and a touch of fantasy woven together to make a dark, slightly unsettling story.  There are three strands of the story that Elizabeth weaves together: the hospital room where Zara’s physical body is lying, Zara’s memories of her family and the thing that happened to her when she was seven, and Zara’s search for her brother inside his favourite comic.  This sounds slightly confusing (and it is to start with) but once you get used to the story jumping between these strands you get caught up in it.  Angus Gomes has created the comic-style illustrations that are sprinkled throughout the book.  These illustrations help to tell the part of the story that is set in Zara’s brother’s comic.  Zara enters this comic world to try and find her brother, and she meets the heroes and villains of the comic who both help and hinder her search.  It’s while she is trapped in her subconscious that Zara is able to come to terms with what happened to her when she was seven and reveal the truth of what has happened to her brother.  

If you’re looking for a Young Adult novel that stands out from the crowd then try Broken by Elizabeth Pulford.

4 out of 5 stars

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Broken Book Trailer

Critically injured in a motorbike accident, Zara Wilson lies in a coma. She is caught between many worlds: the world of her hospital room and anxious family, and that of her memories and a dream-like fantasy where she searches for her brother Jem. Jem proves elusive but Zara s adventures in her subconscious unlock dark secrets of a troubled childhood. Zara must face up to her past in order to accept her future.

Broken is the latest book from NZ author, Elizabeth Pulford (due out in June from Walker Books Australia).  It sounds really interesting and I can’t wait to read it.

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