Growing up on an island that has more prehistoric temples per square mile than any other country in the world, it was inevitable I would grow up intrigued by the Stone Age.
As a child, I would sit alone in one of the temples (you could do that then) and imagine the kind of people who would come to offer sacrifice there. I'd try to visualise what clothes and jewellery they sore, what tools and weapons they used and what the temples looked like when the walls were still decorated in bright colours.
The first story I ever wrote at school was about a stone age lamp which starts off illuminating the face of the mother goddess in a temple and ends up, thousands of years later, shedding light on the past in a museum.
At the moment I have two Stone Age books available. They're part of a four-book saga called Wolfsong. The story-arc bridges the gap between the late Neolithic and the start of the Bronze Age, so it's perfect for Years 3 and 4 doing this topic in school. The books are not meant just for the classroom, though. They're page-turning adventures in their own right, and aimed very much at reading for pleasure.
The first book, THE STOLEN SPEAR, is set in and around the Scottish village of Skara Brae in the Orkneys. Inspired by a broken string of beads found in one of Skara Brae's deserted houses, it tells the story of Wolf. He lacks confidence but also dreams of growing up to be a shaman. When a sacred spear is stolen from the local burial mound, Wolf is accused of helping the thief. Determined to clear his name, he sets out with his faithful dog, Shadow, to retrieve the spear and clear his name. But Wolf's mortal enemy, a bully called Rain, will do everything to stop him because he wants to be the village shaman himself. Wolf's journey proves to be full of danger and in the process he discovers whether he has the courage, and the compassion, to become a true shaman.
Book 2, THE WHISPERING STONES, takes Wolf, Shadow and their best friend Crow, a fearless chief's daughter, on a second adventure set in Stonehenge. After Wolf clears his name, his mentor and shaman falls ill when someone poisons his drinking bowl. The shaman's only chance of survival is at the Place of the Living where he can take part in a healing ceremony. Wolf and Crow offer to take him there. But the way there is full of danger and it is going to take all of their resources to save the shaman's life.
Book 3 is called THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND and publishes in Spring 2021. It takes our heroes, as well as their enemy Rain, to Malta where they meet a mysterious tribe of Bee Children. The plot is under wraps till publication day but it involves dangerous journeys across the sea, an active volcano, a sleeping goddess and our heroes' first encounter with the Bronze Age.
Book 4, THE BIRD-SKULL AMULET sets Wolf, Crow and Rain their biggest challenge yet as they try to make their way home to Skara Brae. Will Wolf and Rain finally make up? Will Wolf become a shaman? Will Crow prove herself a true chief's daughter?
The Wolfsong series is a story about finding yourself, about straying true to your values and beginning to understand what it means to be a part of a larger society.
DOING THE NEOLITHIC/BRONZE AGE IN SCHOOL?
WANT TO FEATURE THE PERIOD IN YOUR BOOK FESTIVAL?
You can book me for a day's related activities about the subject. Find out how I researched Wolfsong, what draws me to the period and how I created the characters.
The day can include writing workshops, Q&A sessions and amazing facts about the Neolithic.
I'm also in the process of creating downloadable activity sheets and teaching notes, so watch this space.
To book me for a school, library or festival visit click on the SCHOOLS, LIBRARIES AND FESTIVALS link.