It’s the happiest of publication days to the brilliant Laura Ellen Anderson with her newest wondrous creation, Rainbow Grey! I read Rainbow Grey a while ago now and honestly, I just adored it! You can check out my review here: Rainbow Grey mini review
Ten-year-old Ray Grey lives in the magical Weatherlands, high in the sky. Ray is surrounded by Weatherlings with astounding weather power at their fingertips . . . but she doesn’t have ANY magic! Then, after a trip to Earth, Ray’s life changes forever. She is transformed from Ray Grey into RAINBOW GREY! With the help of her best friends (and exploding cloud cat, Nim) now all Ray has to do is master her powers AND save the world from a mysterious, powerful enemy . . .
Laura has been so wonderful as to answer a few questions for me all to do with magic, and why she loves magic so much… AND she wants me to answer them too! So buckle in for a magical ride! (Laura’s answers in purple… mine in black!)
Why do you love magic so much?
I don’t know what it is exactly – Magic is something mysterious, giving us a sense of wonder and hope. Could magic REALLY exist?? I always like to think perhaps it does. And I guess it depends on what you define AS magic… Of course, we have spells and potions and the flick of a magic wand. But in all honestly, when I see a rainbow in the sky, that’s REAL magic to me. Also, seeing the Aurora Borealis in Norway was one of the most magical experiences of my life. The beauty of magic is that is means something different to everyone.
We all secretly hope we’ll make that object move with our minds, or receive a letter inviting us to witch school, or discover a crystal that gives us magical abilities! Magic can be ANYTHING. When we read about magic, we are transported into a world that is exciting and unknown providing escapism and curiosity. And it’s the same when writing about it.
I think for me, it’s the endless possibilities that magic provides. You can literally be anything, do anything, see anything… there’s no limits to the possibilities when you’ve got magic on your side. There’s also something wonderfully enticing about all of the power involved in magic! I honestly could go on for days and days about the adventures and the wonders of magical worlds, but this post isn’t about me, ha!
What are your favourite books with magic in?
‘The Worst Witch’, written and illustrated by Jill Murphy is one of my all-time favourites. I ALWAYS wanted to go to Cackle’s Academy. I dressed up as Mildred Hubble when I was younger, and even created mini films, attempting magical disappearing camera tricks (rather crudely but hey, I TRIED).
I loved the idea of mixing potions or riding on a broomstick! I did indeed recite the Cackle’s Academy theme song from the 90’s BBC show and MAY have even tried flying on a broomstick (I still haven’t’ QUITE succeeded… Maybe I’m doing it wrong).
‘The Witches’ and ‘The Magic Finger’ – written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake, are also both childhood favourites of mine involving magic. Not as many people know of ‘The Magic Finger’ – it’s about a girl who zaps magic at people to punish them when she gets angry! It’s a short story, but great fun in classic Dahl style.
‘The Flower Fairies Treasury’ by Cicely Mary Barker has always had a very special place in my heart. There’s a fairy for every flower and Barker writes a short poem for that fairy. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, and I have always wanted to spot a flower fairy in the garden!
‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ by Eiko Kadono is a wonderful book (and Ghibli film!) about a young witch finding her way in the world. It’s such a charming coming of age story, and the magic is subtle. I adore Kiki’s talking cat, Jiji!
Now THIS is an impossible question for me to answer. I’d say 90% of my favourite books of ever have magic in them somewhere. Looking at my favourites shelves (I have a MG favourites and a YA favourites) and the ones which jump out at me are Rainbow Grey (obviously), Frostheart and Pages and Co. That’s obviously not an exhaustive list, but if I were to give you an exhaustive list… I’d be here forever!
What are your favourite TV shows with magic in?
I should probably start with Sabrina the Teenage Witch! I’ve enjoyed ALL of the different shows including the Melissa Joan Hart sitcom version in the 90’s. And then there’s ‘Sabrina the Animated series’ and the more recent ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’,
The animated series in particular was a HUGE inspiration of mine. I drew the main character of Sabrina over and over which really helped develop my art style.
Another favourite show is The Dragon Prince by the creators of Avatar. The magic is well thought out, and again, the style of animation is beautiful. I really like a show that involves magic with rules. It’s good to have boundaries, and this is something I definitely wanted to take on board when creating the weather magic in Rainbow Grey. A magic system needs to have limitations to make it more believable. But of course, the most important thing is to have FUN!
Way back in the days when I was a child, I watched a brilliant kid’s show called Wizadora about a trainee wizard trying to get her spells right. I was obsessed with it (That theme tune will worm its way into your brain and NEVER leave for DAYS). Looking back now, it’s quite a bizarre show, but had so much charm. A talking coat-hanger with a moustache and a rosy-cheeked telephone all adds to the wonderfully zany world of Wizadora and why I loved it so much.
And I can’t possibly finish answering these questions without mentioning the BBC show ‘Merlin’. Oh yes. It was rather cheesy at the very beginning, but I felt it got better and better. The magic is fun (I mean, it’s MERLIN!) and the friendship between Merlin and Arthur is so charming. The characters, the plot and the overall series was a magical roller-coaster, involving creatures such as dragons, goblins and even unicorns! The legend is loosely followed throughout, but what a wonderful twist on a classic!
Like Laura, growing up I was a MASSIVE MASSIVE fan of Sabrina. I wanted to be Sabrina so much. She just seemed, even when she didn’t, to have it all together. She had a brilliant family, a lovely boyfriend, an incredibly sassy cat and MAGIC. As I got a bit older, I was SO into Charmed. Piper was always my favourite sister, but that whole show was something that I absolutely adored. Give me all of their powers and I would absolutely vanquish demons for you. I also PROPER love a REAL life show about magic. A bit of Dynamo, an act on BGT… just give me it all. I know (because I’m an adult) that it’s all trickery and tomfoolery, but my gosh that doesn’t stop me from being awestruck!
What would your magical power be?
Ooo, there are so many potential powers I’d be VERY happy with, but I always lean towards telekinesis. I know it’s technically more of a psychic ability/sci-fi as opposed to the MAGIC I’ve been talking about, but hey, I always think of it as magic! And as I said in my very first answer, magic can mean something different to everyone. It’s whatever you want it to be!
I have a lot of dreams where I’m able to move objects with my mind, and every time I’m CONVINCED it’s actually happening FOR REAL… then I wake up, and I’m genuinely sad for the rest of the day. I also tend to spend that day staring at objects, urging them to move because, well, YOU NEVER KNOW!
Honestly? I’d have to say something really mainstream like teleportation or flying. Something that makes my life a bit easier. The teacher in me wants to say something like ‘all of my books to be instantly marked’; the tired human in me wants to say ‘to be able to fall asleep instantly’, but I’d definitely go with some kind of teleportation thing. I’d love to just be able to BE somewhere in the click of a finger!
What kind of Weatherling would you be?
I think I’d quite like to be a Cloud Weatherling so I could have my very own cloud companion. But I also think wind magic would be fun too… Surfing on the breeze and flying around on a wind instrument of sorts. But if I had to choose, I think I’d suit being a Cloud Weatherling most of all. I could have a lot of fun creating all of the different shaped clouds using my crook to channel my magic, and guide my cloud-companion around. BUT what kind of cloud-creature would I have?! Probably, a cloud-cat just like Ray!
Sunshine. I’m a massive massive lover of sunshine. I suffer quite badly from SAD (seasonal affected disorder) so when the some comes around I am like WOOHOO. Having the ability to give the sunshine out would be lush!
Rainbow Grey is the first book in a magical new series from Amelia Fang creator Laura Ellen Anderson.
27 May, paperback, £6.99, Farshore, 7+ readers