Songs of Magic is a sparkling fantasy adventure overflowing with dragons, excitement and humour taking inspiration from the legend of The Pied Piper of Hamelyn. Fans will be excited to read the final book in the series, A Thunder of Monsters, that publishes this month and brings this epic adventure to a thrilling end!
Meet the heroes of the piece..
Patch is a thirteen year old boy, a very talented piper who was thrown into jail for playing a forbidden song. He's an idealist who wants to make the world a better place. Now on the run he inspires loyalty from his two friends and, swept up in a story not of his own making, he's determined to seek out truth and justice.
Wren is a thirteen year old girl who has been turned into a rat by a wicked sorcerer. She is searching for a cure to become human again. Patch teaches her sign language so they can communicate together - she's clever, funny, resourceful and amibitous.
Barver is a dracogriff - half dragon half griffin. He seems frightening, he's battle-hardened but full of strength and fortitude. He's a loyal friend, kind and brave.
We asked the author, SA Patrick, a few questions to help introduce our readers to his epic new series;
We love the setting for your stories and the idea of taking the Pied Piper of Hamelyn’s story as a starting point. How did the idea come to you?
It started as an idea I had for a game based around rhythm and melody. I needed a setting for the game, and the Pied Piper story was a perfect fit. I didn’t want the player to be the villain, though, so I decided to set it in a world with lots of magical pipers, and make the player an apprentice. I got more and more interested in the world I was creating, and less interested in the game idea…
Music and songs are powerful magic in your stories. Are you a musician yourself?
I have a keyboard, and I play around with creating music on my computer, which I love to do - but let’s just say I’m a long way from being a musician!
Do you find aspects of yourself and people you know appearing in your books?
That kind of thing definitely creeps in. There’s certainly an aspirational element too, where characters show strengths you wish you had.
You have been a games programmer as well as an author, what do you like best about creating worlds and adventures with words?
Working on games, the teams tend to be so large that programmers rarely get to make the really big creative decisions. As an author, though, you get to shape a book any way you want.
What was your favourite fantasy adventure as a child, and which fictional heroic character did you want to be?
I was a Star Wars kid, really – I wanted to be Luke Skywalker. The Last Starfighter also hit home – I mean, to be great at video games and save the universe? Yes please.
What’s your favourite scene in your books and why?
I have a soft spot for the scenes where Patch meets Wren and Barver. It’s just the thought of the three of them meeting their best friends for the first time…
Are your own bookshelves full or do you prefer reading on an electronic device?
I prefer the real thing – I often have to flip back a bit to remind myself of things or check I didn’t get the wrong end of the stick, which is much easier with a physical book.
On the other hand, while the library was closed recently I used my e-reader far more, and got on with it much better than I’d expected.
One in three of all books sold is a children's book yet children's books only get 4% of review space in the media. Why do you think this is - and what can be done?
Perhaps they think people only want to read reviews of books they would read themselves. This is nonsense, of course – for a start, parents and grandparents will always want to discover new books for their kids and grandkids. It also assumes that most adults wouldn’t read children’s books. If that’s true, it’s a great shame – since I started writing for children, more than half of what I read is children’s fiction. People don’t know what they’re missing. Perhaps if they knew, they wouldn’t miss out.
Sites like LoveReading4Kids do a great job of championing children’s books, so I think parents who take an active interest in helping their kids choose books are well served. Even so, the amount of coverage children’s books get in print media and television is pitiful, and that’s shameful. They would surely agree on the importance of literacy for children, yet can’t bring themselves to actively support it by routinely giving more prominence to children’s fiction.
Audio books are so popular now - have you joined the audio book movement?
I find audio books so soothing that I nod off very easily! So that scuppers them for me, really.
You'd need someone lively to narrate the Songs of Magic series then...who would you choose?
Well, I’d have to pick someone who could take action, drama and humour in their stride, and who always brings something special to whatever they do. So if I had a free choice I’d have to pick Jason Isaacs or Thandie Newton, obviously!