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about the books
Is A Court of Miracles a retelling of both Jungle Book and Les Miserables? Yes, ACOM is a direct reimagining of both the Mowgli arc of tales from the First and Second Jungle Book, and the entire cast of Les Miserables.
If this is a Jungle Book reimagining, are there animals in A Court of Miracles? No, and I get this question a lot. ACOM is a retelling of JB in the same way as Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book was a JB retelling. The animal characters all have human counterparts
Do you have to have read Jungle Book and / or Les Miserables to enjoy A Court of Miracles? ACOM was written to appeal to fans of JB and Les Mis as well as people who have never read either, you can enjoy it even if you're unfamiliar with the works it's based on.
I've never read Jungle Book or Les Miserables, what else can I compare this book to to see if I'd like it? ACOM should appeal to fans of gritty criminal underworlds like Leigh Bardugo’s Six Of Crows, and Scott Lynch's The Lies Of Locke Lamora, lovers of high octane YA fantasy like Sabaa Tahir’s Ember In The Ashes, classical literature retellings in the vein of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series…
How diverse is A Court of Miracles? As a writer of color, representation is very important to me. I tried my best to introduce a diverse cast to the all-white narrative of Les Miserables, the main character of ACOM, Nina, is a POC and so are many of her compatriots. I also drew on my own personal experiences with prejudice surrounding religion, class and race to illustrate the contrasting societies of the diversity-rich Miracle Court, and the all-white nobility/royal court.
What are your thoughts on Rudyard Kipling's imperialistic world-view and Disney's versions of the Jungle Book? As a Mauritian Indian-Creole whose ancestors were brought from India as slaves and indentured labourers, representation is very important to me. ACOM is not based on Disney's Jungle Book rather it is based on Kipling's original Jungle Book stories, subverting Kipling's narrative to free it from its sometimes problematic roots.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? I’ve blogged about this here and here. And I’d add throughout a writers a life, to read widely both within and outside of your chosen writing genre. I’d also add that it makes a world of difference to have a partner in life, who is supportive of your writing dreams.
Any advice on getting published? See my WRITERS RESOURCES page for a lengthy list of articles about writing and publishing. This is an ever expanding resource. Also check out my BLOG for various posts on writing advice and how ACOM went from idea to book deal.
Where do you get your ideas? My ideas are the culmination of a curious and ravenous mind. My stories are inspired by: Learning or reading about history, nature or science documentaries, reading fiction and non-fiction in genres outside my usual tastes, watching series or movies and having visceral reactions of things I love and things I hate. Which is why I advise other new writers to be curious and open minded .
What's it like writing as a dyslexic? I've talked about my struggles as a dyslexic author in an interview here.
What’s your favourite book? The Wind Singer trilogy by William Nicholson, especially the last book.
Where are you from? I am essentially a British-born African. I have spent my life equally divided between the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius Island and London.
Did you study writing at University/College/School? Nope, and although it might be helpful, I do not believe it necessary for aspiring writers.
Can you read my book/recommend me to your agent? I’m afraid I don’t read unpublished manuscripts because I have so much writing, research and a giant stack of TBR books threatening to topple over and crush me to death. I don’t recommend things to my agent unless I’ve read them.