Marcus Sedgwick - Author

About the Author

One of the World Book Day 2015 Authors  Marcus was our Guest Editor in July 2010. Click here to see all his selections.

Marcus began to write seriously in 1994, and his first book, Floodland, was published by Orion in 2000, and won the Branford-Boase award for best debut children's novel. Witch Hill followed in 2001, and was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award.

The Kiss of Death was published in paperback in April 2009, and picked up a thread from his highly acclaimed My Swordhand is Singing (winner of the 2007 Booktrust Teenage Book Award). In between came what Marcus calls “my big one - a project I've been working on for so long my head hurts.” – Blood Red Snow White, which was first published to considerable acclaim in 2007.

2009 saw Marcus turn his attention to books for younger readers with the launch of a humorous new series: The Raven Mysteries, narrated by a grumpy raven, Edgar. Titles are Flood and Fang, Ghosts and Gadgets and Lunatics and Luck. The sixth book in the series, Creepy Caves, will be published in paperback in February 2015.

Marcus Sedgwick won the Branford Boase Award in 2001 with his debut novel, FLOODLAND. In 2007 MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING won the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and in 2011 LUNATICS AND LUCK won a Blue Peter Book Award. Marcus has been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal six times. Marcus lives in Taninges, France.

In his spare time, he is also a stone carver and wood engraver and illustrates all his novels!  Finally Marcus is also a drummer, and at the moment he plays in two bands: visit www.garrett-music.tv, and www.internationalbandofmystery.com to find out more.

Q&A with Marcus Sedgwick

Many of your novels are inspired by history and by myth and legend - have these areas always been a fascination of yours since childhood and if so how did this passion come about?
Yes, I always loved myths and legends - I used to read and re-read two books from the library - one a big illustrated edition of Greek Myths and the other Old Peter's Russian Tales. I don't know why I was fascinated by these stories, but maybe simply because I find them to be more glamorous than contemporary stories...
 
Apart from writing what are your passions?
I love music, both listening to it and playing it (I'm a drummer). A day without music is not a proper day... I also love travel and try to travel as much as I can manage.

Where did the idea come from for The Raven Mysteries?
It was a single line, the first line in the book in fact. I'd had it for ages but didn't know where I was going to use it until the character of Edgar came along: "I suspect I may have fleas again".

The Raven Mysteries are full of humour and mad-cap action, which is quite different from your novels for older readers.  Was this a conscious decision of yours when setting out to write this series?
Absolutely, and it was great fun. After writing a few hardcore goth books, it was great to let my hair down with these stories. And it gave me fresh impetus to go back to the next YA novel, Revolver, with renewed determination to be gloomy!
 
Where and when do you write?
I write at the weekends, and mostly in the study in my loft, but also sometimes I travel to write - eg much of Revolver was written on trips to Sweden.
 
What age did you first start writing and when did you think that one day you'd write a novel that would actually be published?
I started to write as a teenager a bit, but properly when I was in my mid-twenties. It took a few years to think it might actually happen!
 
With both your publisher and author hat on, what advice can you give would-be children's authors in getting published?
The most important thing is to know your market! Who do you think your book is going to be read by? What else is out there that's like it? Are you writing something that will sell?
 
The historical context of most of your novels must mean a huge amount of research prior to writing each book.  What does this involve and how long does it take?
It varies from book to book but it's not a chore as I love to do research. It's easier than actually writing the things! For Revolver, the research spanned about 16 months, of little trips here and there and lots and lots of reading!

What was your inspiration for Revolver ?

Finding an empty shell casing on the pavement in St Petersburg. It was a long way from there to the finished book but that was the start of it.

What was your favourite book as a teenager?

Without question, the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake.

If you got into Doctor Who’s tardis, where (or when) would you go?
Great question, impossible to answer. So many amazing things to go and see – the building of the pyramids, a Viking boat putting out to sea, Man Utd winning the European Championship in 1968…

Who would you choose to be if you could be a celebrity for the day?

Matt Bellamy on any day with a gig.

If you were invisible for a day what would you do?

I’m invisible most days, so nothing much would change.
 
 10 things you didn't know about Marcus Sedgwick
 
1 - I have an embarrassing middle name, but I'm not going to tell you what it is
2 - I am learning Swedish
3 - As well as playing the drums, I play bass guitar
4 - My grandfather invented the hydraulic tipper truck
5 - I have a pet raven called Edgar, though he doesn’t say much, eat much, or indeed, move much. There’s a possibility that he’s stuffed, I guess.
6 - I’m extraordinarily sleepy right now.
7 - I represented England (Juniors) at Fencing.
8 - I totally love football.
9 - I'm allergic to red peppers
10 - I believe there is only one radio or TV station worth listening to: Radio 3.

Author photo © Kate Christer

Featured books by Marcus Sedgwick

Magic and Mayhem

Magic and Mayhem

7+ readers 9+ readers

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2011

Chaos strikes after a trip to the circus, and the castle is suddenly filled with thieves, bunnies, and lethal cabbages, in the fifth of Marcus Sedgwick's quirky mysteries.

Other books by Marcus Sedgwick

Scarlett Hart Monster Hunter

Scarlett Hart Monster Hunter

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/04/2018

Scarlett Hart is the last of a long line of monster hunters, and this stubborn young orphan is determined to carry on her dead parents' work even if she's too young to be licensed by the monster hunters union. With the help of her loyal butler and a lot of awesome gadgets, Scarlett is out to slay monsters - and to take down the corrupt monster hunter who killed her parents! In a departure from the intense, literary teen fiction for which he is best known, Marcus Sedgwick has turned his pen to middle-grade adventure storytelling. Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter, with Thomas Taylor (known for his illustrations in the British editions of Harry Potter) on the art, is a joyous, goofy, and above-all sincere adventure in the tone of Tintin, Nancy Drew, and classic kids' adventure comics of the 1940s.

Elf Girl and Raven Boy: Creepy Caves Book 6

Elf Girl and Raven Boy: Creepy Caves Book 6

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/02/2015

Eep ... The final adventure awaits! Nothing can stand in the way of Elf Girl and Raven Boy saving the world... Well, almost nothing. Just a sea monster, a dragon, and rivers of molten lava. Not to mention some seriously Creepy Caves. Defeating the Goblin King might be harder than they thought. The sixth laugh-out-loud adventure from BLUE PETER BOOK AWARD-shortlisted Marcus Sedgwick and Pete Williamson.

The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor's New Clothes

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/01/2015

A reissue of this beautiful version of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, illustrated in Alison Jay's unique and attractive style. In this retelling by Marcus Sedgwick, the Emperor is a very proud and vain lion, served by his long-suffering Chamberlain and Treasurer. He wants to commission the finest set of robes ever seen! But the devious tailors have plans of their own... This new edition captures the charm of the timeless classic with a fresh new look.

Elf Girl and Raven Boy: Terror Town Book 5

Elf Girl and Raven Boy: Terror Town Book 5

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/05/2014

Terror Town is Trouble with a capital T. What will happen to our intrepid trio (that includes Rat) when the Tears of the Moon are taken, and Terrible Tim and the Trolls are on their trail? There are tempers (Elf Girl's), tests (for Raven Boy), tunes (the Singing Sword's), oh and Zombies, with a capital Z, too. If you love Lemony Snicket, Araminta Spook or the Spiderwick Chronicles, you'll love Elf Girl and Raven Boy's hilarious adventures.

Dead Days Omnibus

Dead Days Omnibus

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: eBook Release Date: 05/12/2013

The bestselling THE BOOK OF DEAD DAYS and THE DARK FLIGHT DOWN in a single volume.The days between 27 December and New Year's Eve are dead days, when spirits roam and magic shifts restlessly just beneath the surface of our everyday lives.There is a man, Valerian, whose time is running out, who must pay the price for the pact he made with evil so many years ago. His servant is Boy, a child with no name and no past; a child he treats with contempt, but who serves his master well and finds solace in the company of his only friend, Willow. Unknown to any of them it is Boy who holds the key to their destiny.THE BOOK OF DEAD DAYS and THE DARK FLIGHT DOWN are mesmerising stories of sorcery and desperate magic spanning dark cities, deadly courtrooms, and the threatening, frozen countryside. The truth about Valerian's past, Boy's identity and many other shattering secrets are laid bare as the Book of Dead Days is opened.

Elf Girl and Raven Boy: Dread Desert Book 4

Elf Girl and Raven Boy: Dread Desert Book 4

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/11/2013

Elf Girl and Raven Boy get hot and bothered in the desert as they come a few steps (with sand in their shoes) closer to finding the Singing Sword and the Tears of the Moon. They bump into a grumpy camel, a grumpier genie, Sultanas, Sandpeople and scorpions as they try to save the world from the Goblin King.

She Is Not Invisible

She Is Not Invisible

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 24/10/2013

Laureth Peak's father is a writer. For years he's been trying, and failing, to write a novel about coincidence. His wife thinks he's obsessed, Laureth thinks he's on the verge of a breakdown. He's supposed to be doing research in Austria, so when his notebook shows up in New York, Laureth knows something is wrong.On impulse she steals her mother's credit card and heads for the States, taking her strange little brother Benjamin with her. Reunited with the notebook, they begin to follow clues inside, trying to find their wayward father. Ahead lie challenges and threats, all of which are that much tougher for Laureth than they would be for any other 16-year old. Because Laureth Peak is blind.Features an author's note read by Marcus Sedgwick and a bonus conversation between the author and reader.Read by Anna Cannings, from braille. Anna Cannings was born blind with Bilateral Microphthalmia. She grew up in Sussex, where she attended local mainstream schools. At 18, Anna set up her own audio production company, before embracing acting, taking guest lead roles in prime time TV dramas William and Mary and Bodies. Anna was chosen by artist Marc Quinn to be the subject of his marble sculpture on display at the famous White Cube gallery and by artist Rona Lee for her National Oceanography installation. She enjoys keep fit and walking with her guide dog Reno. Visit www.annacannings.com for more about Anna and her work.

Elf Girl and Raven Boy: Scream Sea Book 3

Elf Girl and Raven Boy: Scream Sea Book 3

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/05/2013

Elf Girl and Raven Boy have survived Monster Mountains and arrived on the shores of Scream Sea. Kidnapped by Scrim, pirate captain of the Naughty Porpoise, they're held prisoner below decks as the ship sets sail. But Captain Scrim and his crew are even more interested in mermaids than in bird boys and pointy-eared girls, and when they capture one they throw the pirate party of a lifetime. Our daring duo, plus Rat and mermaid Molo, escape and go their separate ways, but not before Molo has given Raven Boy a tiny shell on a silver chain and told him to call on her for help. They continue their search for the Goblin King with adventures on a desert island, an 'invisible' spell, encounters with an even worse pirate called Blackblood on the stormy high seas, and then below the waves with the many scary beasts and monsters that roam the deep. No one said saving the world was easy!

Elf Girl and Raven Boy: Monster Mountains Book 2

Elf Girl and Raven Boy: Monster Mountains Book 2

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/11/2012

Saving the world isn't going very well for Elf Girl and Raven Boy. They've left Fright Forest and crossed a huge plain to the worryingly named Monster Mountains, where they find a sign telling them to Turn Back. They really shouldn't have ignored it! It's not the strange wailing noises they hear in the dark, or the gigantic yeti who wants to eat them for breakfast that they find alarming, so much as the crazy wizard, Jeremy, who seems intent on adding Elf Girl and Raven Boy, not to mention Rat, to his collection of all too life-like stone statues.

Raven Mysteries: Diamonds and Doom Book 6

Raven Mysteries: Diamonds and Doom Book 6

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/10/2012

Join the wonderfully weird Otherhand family and their faithful guardian, Edgar the raven, and discover the dark secrets of Castle Otherhand. In the sixth of the Raven Mysteries, all manner of disaster descends on Castle Otherhand; weirdness abounds, the family are on the verge of being thrown out of their own home, and there's still no sign of the fabled treasure of the Otherhand. Worse still, there's no sign of Edgar, either. So will it be diamonds or doom for the Otherhands?

Raven Mysteries: Vampires and Volts Book 4

Raven Mysteries: Vampires and Volts Book 4

Author: Marcus Sedgwick, Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/10/2011

Join the wonderfully weird Otherhand family and their faithful guardian, Edgar the raven, and discover the dark secrets of Castle Otherhand. It's Halloween and the Otherhands are enjoying the Annual Pumpkin Hunt. And there are preparations to be made for the Great Halloween Ball. Minty is all a-fluster. Solstice is busy spraying fake cobwebs everywhere. Valevine is in charge of disorganising everyone's carefully laid plans, and Cudweed seems hungrier than ever and oddly preoccupied with 'fresh brains'. In fact when Silas, Valevine's long lost brother, turns up with Samantha, the Otherhands would be well-advised to check out their guests. It's not long before wily Edgar works out that there's a preponderance of vampires and not all of them have false teeth. Just when he's about to solve the latest mystery at Otherhand Castle, the lights go out... Dedicated website on Raven Mysteries: www.ravenmysteries.co.uk

The Swordhand Omnibus (2-in-1) My Swordhand is Singing/The Kiss of Death

The Swordhand Omnibus (2-in-1) My Swordhand is Singing/The Kiss of Death

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/05/2011

The prize-winning vampire novel MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING and its companion THE KISS OF DEATH in an omnibus edition.In the bitter cold of an unrelenting winter, Tomas and his son, Peter, arrive in the inhospitable village of Chust and settle there as woodcutters. When a band of gypsies comes to the village, Peter's drab existence is turned upside down. He is infatuated by the beautiful gypsy princess, Sofia. And, intoxicated by their love of life, he is drawn into their deadly quest. For these travellers are Vampire Slayers and Chust is a community to which the dead return to wreak revenge on the living.Years on, and Peter is still on the trail of the Shadow Queen. His search leads him to Venice, a city whose beauty disguises many ugly secrets. The Shadow Queen is there, gathering strength, recruiting a new army of the Undead for a final confrontation. Hers is the kiss of death.

Author Info

Author's Website

http://www.marcussedgwick.com/

Author's Facebook

Find Marcus Sedgwick on Facebook

LoveReading4Kids Kids Zone

Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.