Thomas Wharton - Author Picture

Thomas Wharton - Author

Thomas Wharton lives in Edmonton, Canada, with his wife and three children. He is an assistant professor of English at the University of Alberta. His first novel Icefields (1995), won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book. A collection of short fiction, The Logogryph, won the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction at the 2005 Alberta Book Awards and was shortlisted for the 2006 IMPAC Dublin Prize. The Shadow of Malabron is the author’s first children’s book.

Q & A with Thomas Wharton

1. This is your first novel for children or teenagers. What made you make the move to writing for a younger reader and why fantasy?

As a reader I began as a fan of fantasy. My earliest efforts at writing were attempts to imitate the writers I loved because I wanted more of what they’d written and there wasn’t any more. So I had to trying writing it myself. Then, years later, my kids asked me if I would write a book for them and I agreed to try – and fantasy is what came out, not surprisingly.

2. From where did the inspiration for The Perilous Realm come?

From lifelong admiration for the work of certain fantasy writers, like Ursula LeGuin and JRR Tolkien. And from a love of traditional stories and myths. Our human need for Story is a wonderful mystery to me, and I wanted to explore that.

3. How many titles do you envisage being in The Perilous Realm fantasy sequence?

There will be three books in this series, although by calling the series The Perilous Realm without the word “trilogy” I want to suggest how closely they’re all linked. Maybe this is one large novel in three parts.

When I asked my kids what they wanted in this book I was writing for them, my daughter insisted there be a wolf. That’s how Shade was born. I like his loyalty and that there is no guile in him. I think of him as the ideal animal companion I would’ve liked when I was a kid.

Reading a lot of traditional stories was important – since the novel is set in the world of Story, I wanted it to suggest familiar aspects of stories we all know, while making them somehow strange at the same time. And since I’ve got characters from a number of different story “worlds” (e.g., Arthurian, Norse, fairy tales) I needed to be sure they dressed, talked and acted in a manner fitting their origin.

I like the idea of multiple realities in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. I like stories about alternate or multiple worlds, like C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books & Garth Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom series. And authors who play with the familiar elements of story and fairy tale, like Terry Pratchett & Eoin Colfer. And anything by Ursula LeGuin.

I can recommend the above books and writers. And one of the greatest children’s books ever about the power of stories: Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story.

Featured Books, with extracts, by Thomas Wharton

The Shadow of Malabron
Thomas Wharton
A rebellious teenager finds himself transported to another world and there he finds himself forced to go on a perilous journey with a group of strikingly different characters including a speaking wolf. It's a fantasy that weaves the fabric of well-loved stories into...
Lovereading Price: £6.39 - Saving £1.60 (20%) Featured in: 11+ readers | 13+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 04/08/2008
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Author Info

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