“A dull roaring filled her ears, like being underwater. The shifting shadows gradually stilled, and from the depths, it seemed as though someone looked back at her through ink-dark eyes. It seemed as though someone spoke directly into her mind, his voice as rich and dark as treacle, ‘Whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?’ “
Fifteen year old Sophie is not the most popular girl at school. She’s not thin enough, she’s not pretty enough, and she’s way too interested in maths and physics to be even remotely cool. So when she finds herself mysteriously transported into another world where the sun always shines, the people all think she’s fantastic and their impossibly handsome king dotes on her, she can barely believe her luck.
But Sophie begins to realize that all is not as well as it seems in the Darklands. Why are all the visiting delegations so angry with the King? What is the mysterious millenniversary everyone keeps talking about? And quite what is Sophie’s role in it all?
As the Darklands reveals its grim secrets, the fate of both worlds relies on Sophie escaping the King and finding her way back home – preferably without turning the universe inside out…
Emma Woodcock has worked variously as a pump jockey, envelope stuffer, librarian, potter, and for the past ten years, web designer.
She lives in Derbyshire with a boyfriend and a child – but still no dog, despite her constant hints.
She has been trying to write books for the past quarter century, but the need to make a living kept getting in the way. She has now perfected the ability to live on twigs and acorns in order to pursue her literary ambitions.
Darklands is her first novel.
It will be followed in 2012 (or maybe 13…) by Kikimora, the story of a reluctant monster, a heart-broken magician, a frustrated violinist, a kind-hearted Rusalka – and the magician’s cat, who just might have the solution to all their problems.
Emma’s writing heroes are Diana Wynne Jones, Neil Gaiman and Philip Reeve. She would very much like to one day write something as magical, enthralling and oh, just perfect as Howl’s Moving Castle, Stardust or Mortal Engines.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was walking through meadows full of wild flowers one warm, golden spring day, and found myself thinking about the incongruity of something sinister happening in such a beautiful setting. It made me think of the 1975 film, Picnic at Hanging Rock. There is something very powerful and unsettling about that story – particularly how it remains unresolved. I echoed that in the prologue to Darklands, in which a school girl disappears while playing in the woods on a bright, sunny day, and is never seen again…