Meet the New Characters in The Shadows of Rookhaven

  • Blog Tour Feature Written by author Padraig Kenny
  • The Shadows of Rookhaven, publishes in hardback on 30th September 2021

I owe the existence of The Shadows of Rookhaven to its new characters. I didn’t have a plot for the book until one day the name Billy Catchpole popped into my head. I usually can’t start a story without a character. I need to know who and what they are, what predicament they’re in, and then the story evolves from that.

In this instance I knew Billy was part human and part monster just like Mirabelle of Rookhaven, but where Mirabelle has a family Billy has nothing but a strange arrangement with his fellow outcasts, a kind of sham family. What Billy wants is a real family, which is what Mirabelle has, so from that moment on I knew I had something to drive my book. To say anymore would reveal too much, but a lot of the new characters are dealing with what family means to them.

Winthropp is another new character in the book. For a long time I resisted having him in it. He was just a strange cowled figure, enigmatic, mysterious, but for some reason I couldn’t shake him so I just had to write him. He ends up playing an important part in the book and I liked how he interacts with the others, especially Odd. 

I could have stuck with the old characters, but with something like the Rookhaven books there’s a whole world to explore, and how better to explore than through new characters. With that in mind I extended the Family in the book to give a reader an idea of how big their world is, and how there’s so much more to them than just the house of Rookhaven. It also gave me an opportunity to expand on the more grotesque aspects of the monsters. I really enjoyed writing Aunt Mavis and her sons the Dibble twins. I tried to make them as grotesque as possible, not just in terms of their look, but more importantly in how they view and treat other people. You can give a character four heads and six tentacles, but what makes them truly monstrous is how they view and treat other people.

The Shadows of Rookhaven is published by Macmillan Children’s Books, and available to purchase from all good booksellers from 30th September, priced at £12.99 (hb). For additional insight and reviews check out the amazing blog stops on the rest of the tour (information can be found on the banner below).

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