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My Dreamsnatcher Playlist

1. To get me fired up for a day of writing: Let it Go from Disney’s Frozen

 

2. When I want to introduce a bit more magic into the plot: Flying by James Newton Howard – from the most recent Peter Pan movie

 

3. The last few chapters of my book are pretty tense and I wrote them to this song: Narnia battle theme – from the more recent Narnia movie

 

4. I reward myself with this song after I’ve written a good chase scene: Septimus by Ilan Eshkeri – from the Stardust soundtrack

 

5. When I’m editing the book and need all my concentration to get it just right: Silence (anything else is distracting)

 

6. When I want inspiration: BBC Narnia Aslan’s Theme by Geoffrey Burgon (possibly the most magical sounding thing OF ALL TIME)

 

7. Standard writing day music: anything by Ludovico Einaudi

 

8. When I’m tired but know I have to write anyway: I’ve Come Home from the Spirit movie

 

9. When I’m willing Moll on to be brave against Skull: Spark Inside Us from The Princess & The Goblin movie

 

10. If I were ever to write a kissing scene (at the moment I can’t imagine my characters getting to that point!) I would write it to this song: Storybook Love by Mark Knopfler – The Princess Bride

theme song

1. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

2. The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden

3. Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

4. Skellig by David Almond

5. The Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy

6. The BFG by Roald Dahl

7. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

8. The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe by CS Lewis

9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

10. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Top 10 Desert Island Reads

Abi Elphinstone Q&A

Abi answers your questions about her inspiration for The Dreamsnatcher

THE DREAMSNATCHER -

THE CHARACTERS

 

Moll

I’m Moll and I get into trouble a lot, especially with Mooshie. Normally it’s just skiving off chores to hang out with Sid in our tree fort but recently me and Gryff have been doing a bit of trespassing – and that hasn’t gone down very well with the rest of the camp. Trouble is, most of the other children are good and happy just mucking around in the clearing but when someone like Skull gets me all tempered up, there’s no knowing what me, my catapult and Gryff might get up to.

 

Gryff

I’m large, even for a wildcat, and my razor sharp claws and yellow-green eyes mark me out as wild. My night vision is seven times better than yours, my hearing is active 24 hours a day, even when I’m sleeping, I can smell meat 200 metres away and in sprints I can reach up to 30 miles per hour. I’m Gryff and I’m the only animal that can’t be tamed, but I came down from the northern wilderness to protect Moll from Skull’s dark magic. Most of the time I hang back from the clatter of the camp, sleeping inside hollowed trees and beneath fallen branches, but whenever Moll needs me I find her. Somehow she’s different from everyone else, and although she’s reckless, headstrong and impatient, I’d do anything to make sure she’s safe.

 

If you’re interested in helping protect the critically endangered Scottish wildcat, check out the school workshops and assemblies Wild Intrigue offers:  www.wildintrigue.co.uk/wildcat-warriors

 

Siddy

I’m Sid, Moll’s best pal, and as co-founder of The Tribe, I’m worth listening to, even if I do have a habit of forgetting stuff, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and generally annoying my ma. As well as breaking rules, avoiding chores and telling lies on Tuesdays and Thursdays, The Tribe (that’s me, Moll and Gryff), can fend for ourselves in the forest better than any of the children back in camp. We’ve built a tree fort, rescued trapped otters and catapulted pigeons – but recently Moll has gone and got herself involved in Skull’s dark magic so we’re quite busy trying to fix all that.

 

Oak

My name is Oak, I’m the closest thing Moll has to a father and as head of the camp, I wear a ring set with black obsidian. I taught Moll to climb in the tallest elms, tickle trout from the river and carve wooden animals from hazel with her penknife – and I made the wheels on her wagon extra thick so that it wouldn’t topple over no matter how much crashing around she does inside it. But times are changing – Moll’s nightmares are growing stronger – and it’s only a matter of time before Moll discovers just who is waiting for her in the Deepwood

 

Mooshie

I’m Mooshie, Oak’s wife, and when I’m not weaving baskets out of hawthorn to sell up in the village, I’m looking after Moll: tending to the bruises she gets from tumbling out of trees with herbal cures, walloping her with my tea towel when she goes off trespassing and generally trying to prevent her from turning into a savage. I taught her all about the trees, how they lend us their spirits if we listen hard. Moll was fine with silver birch helping protect against evil beings but when I mentioned holly berries as a fertility charm she burped in my face and ran off. If I didn’t love Moll as much as I do, I’d count her as a lost cause.

 

Hard Times Bob

Hard-Times Bob, at your service. I may be in my eighties and as shriveled as a tortoise (Moll’s words), but I can dislocate every limb in my body and fit through the rungs of a ladder. The only side effect is my hiccups. I’ve had them for thirty years now but they’re always worse after a dislocation. Mooshie’s been banging on at me to cross my boots before bed to prevent them but it never works. I suppose the snakeskin binding she gave me for my hand does actually help my arthritis but the hedgehog paw Mooshie insists I carry to stave off toothache does absolutely nothing. Still, if I wear it I’m not hassled and I can sit by the fire playing my accordion for as long as I like.

 

Cinderella Bull

I’m known to the rest of the camp as Cinderella Bull and I’m a fortuneteller. For the past few years I haven’t had to use that many protection charms – and I’ve only ever brought my crystal ball out at feasts – but Skull’s dark magic has grown stronger and I’ll do everything I can now to keep the camp safe. I’ve ensured each member of our camp has hung a protection charm from their wagon, everything from lemon peel, fragments of mirror, rabbit paws, tortoise shell, salt, iron, thorns, acorns, hedgehog bristles, fox teeth and blue jay feathers and if I’m called upon, and if the moon is full, you may well catch me calling on the tree spirits to breathe magic into my spells.

 

Skull

They call me Skull because of the mask I wear, but if they could see my face, see what terrible darkness lurks behind my mask, they’d call me worse things. Oak’s known for a while now that I’m The Dreamsnatcher but it’s not him I’m after. I can brew curses darker than night itself and it’s only a matter of time before the beast and child are mine. I’ve already stolen their dreams; and now I want their lives.

 

Gobbler

I’m Gobbler, second-in-command in Skull’s gang. I’ll do anything he says – kidnap, murder, torture – if it means bringing the beast and the child in. Some say our clearing in the Deepwood isn’t welcoming but I’ve grown fond of the decaying trees, rotted fungus and holding chambers for visitors

 

Alfie

I’m Alfie – twelve years old and a member of Skull’s gang. I’m not in on his dark magic but there are things – dark things – that went on when I was younger and I can’t leave. But I’ve got my stallion cob, Raven, here and I wear a knot of his hair in a leather pouch around my neck. It’s my talisman and it wards off evil. Only trouble is, it’s hard to escape evil when you’re mixed up in a gang that’s steeped in it.