Angie Sage is a British author and illustrator. She is the author of two fantasy series (Septimus Heap and Araminta Spookie). Her first novel, Magyk (book 1 of the Septimus Heap series), was published in 2005.
The official Septimus Heap website can be found here.
Risingshadow.net has had the honour of interviewing Angie Sage. You can read the interview here:
AN INTERVIEW WITH ANGIE SAGE
Can you tell us something about yourself?
Well... I live in a really friendly village in Somerset, which is in the west of England. I am married, have two grown up daughters and lots of lovely cousins. I live in a very old house, which is fascinating because I love history. Writing Septimus Heap takes up pretty much all of my time, but when I do get some space we like to go to Cornwall, where we used to live, and mess around on our boat and eat lots of fish.
You'll soon visit Finland. Have you ever been to Finland before?
Yes, I went to Finland about 2 years ago on a family holiday just for a week in the snow. I loved it!
Have you ever read any Finnish books, which have been translated into English?
The Moomintrolls by Tove Janssen. I love the Moomins.
You write fantasy, so I was wondering if you like to read fantasy books? What are your favourite authors and books?
No, I don’t read fantasy books any more... When I was a teenager I read Tolkien and also Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy and quite a lot of sci-fi, but now I like to read any good book I can find. I do love reading but now that I write too I find I am more picky about what I read. I love so many authors and books it is very hard to say what my favourite ones are. I do love Jane Austen, recently I read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and loved that too. I also try to catch up on classics that I haven’t read. At the moment I am reading Samuel Pepys Diaries and usually have another book on the go too. So many books but so little time!
What kind of books can you recommend to your readers?
Anything exciting with great characters was a winner when I was younger. Moonfleet by JM Faulkener, Rosemary Sutcliffe’s Eagle of the Ninth and The Silver Sword. I also loved The Borrowers by Mary Norton. Myths and Legends have great stories — The Norse sagas, the Greek myths, and story of King Arthur are all so wonderfully familiar that when you read them feel like they are already part of your life.
There are probably several readers who haven't read the Septimus Heap series yet. How would you describe this series to new readers?
It’s a big adventure story about the Heap Wizarding family! There’s a Castle, Magyk, adventure, weird creatures (both scary and funny). You get to know the people in the book — you grow up with them, do the exciting things they do and become part of their lives. It’s funny too and you just have to keep on turning the pages...
How do the Septimus Heap books differ from other children's books?
I have to confess that I haven’t read any recent children’s books so I am not sure what else is out there. I set out to write the kind of book I would loved to have read when I was younger. What I want the Septimus Heap books to do is take the reader into a very real world where they become part of what is going on. With every book the world grows and changes (like we all do) so the reader goes on an exciting journey from one book to the next.
How did you come up with the idea of writing about Septimus Heap and his adventures? What was your inspiration?
I feel as though I have always known about Septimus Heap so it is hard to know where the idea began. It’s strange really... It took me a long time to get to the stage where I felt ready to write the story I had always wanted to write, because I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out. But after the first few chapters I knew it was going to work and that was a great feeling!
I don’t think I had a particular inspiration except a feeling that I had to get the story down on paper and seeing as no one else was going to write it for me it was about time I got on with it... But I do think the landscape of Cornwall was very important in the geography of the Septimus world. I wrote the first three books in the series when I lived there, and certainly the Port and the Marshes are reminiscent of parts of Cornwall.
When you began to write about the fictional world, did any real places inspire you to write about fictional places?
It is the atmosphere in Cornwall that does it, I think. Misty, mysterious, ancient. Secret creeks where anything can happen ... it allows you to daydream, which is the beginning of any story.
Did you use any real people as role models for your characters?
I thought I didn’t do this at all, but now I do wonder if the character of Marcia isn’t possibly based on someone I shared a flat with (at the top of a lot of stairs) in London when I first left home many, many years ago... But generally the characters just appear in my mind, and I have no idea where from. I definitely don’t try and base them on anyone. I like to think that they are as individual as any living person is.
There's lots of magic (and also magical beings) in the Septimus Heap books. How did it feel to write about magic? Was it easy to write about it?
It’s fun to write about Magyk because it gives another dimension to the story. It allows the characters to do things they would not otherwise be able to and allows the readers to dream a little about what it would be like to use Magyk for themselves. Magyk is quite easy to write about, but it needs to have to have rules and an internal logic of its own to feel right.
The Septimus Heap series currently consists of five books. When you began to write the first book, did you know that you'd write a long book series?
I had no idea! I though I was going to write a trilogy. But when I began to write I was surprised how quickly the world of Septimus Heap grew. So many characters came flocking in and I discovered such interesting places to write about that I realized I could write more than three books. At first I thought I could write five and now it is seven books. I will stop the main series there; seven is a Septimus kind of number and it is the right place to leave it. But I may write other books about different characters from the series. I’d like to do something about Marcia when she was young and how she got so interested in Magyk.
Are you planning on writing more books about Septimus Heap?
There will be two more published: numbers six and seven in the series. I have just finished writing book six, which is called DARKE.
You've also written the Araminta Spookie (aka Araminta Spook) series. What can you tell us about this series? How does it differ from the Septimus Heap books?
Araminta is a fun series about Araminta Spookie (or Spook) and Wanda Wizzard, who are best friends and live in a big old haunted house. Each book is a lot shorter than a Septimus Heap book and is for slightly younger readers. It’s funny and only a little scary. Araminta herself tells the stories and Wanda does not get a word in edgeways. But Wanda is not a pushover, as Araminta always finds out.
Will you write more books about Araminta Spookie in the future?
Yes, but not yet. I love writing the Araminta books but I need to finish the Septimus Heap series first and, sadly, there is not the time to do both. But I still have lots of great ideas for Araminta and Wanda.
Do you have any future plans at this moment? Are you planning on writing any other fantasy series?
No plans yet. Septimus takes up all my head space!
Is there anything you'd like to add? Or is there anything you'd like to say to your fans?
I'd just like to say that I am really looking forward to coming to Finland — and a BIG Hello!!