Black Snow Falling was nominated for the 2019 CILIP Carnegie Medal, Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award and the Historical Association’s Young Quills Award. Scottish Book Trust Book of the Month December 2018. The manuscript attracted Creative Scotland funding.
PhD research supervisors: Professor Heather Walton and novelist Dr Carolyn-Jess Cooke.
The story behind Black Snow Falling
In Tudor England, Ruth is the spirited daughter of a bereaved merchant. When she is betrayed, it doesn’t just break her heart but splits apart time itself, where sinister creatures are stealing dreams and rampaging through the years. Black Snow Falling is about Ruth’s struggle to find agency.
Stories which use myth and go beyond reality can help meet that need in us to explain how things can go so wrong, to articulate unspeakable things.
The novel (for young adults and up) draws on my fascination with psychology, the inner workings of minds and mechanical machines, and how people can be controlled by culture. As a child, my engineer father introduced me to science and the industrial revolution museums around Manchester. On a trip to Florence many years later, a 500 year-old moving Armillary Sphere made a deep impression on me. The Medicis had commissioned this in the 1500s, and it embodied the long-held belief that the earth was at the centre of the heavens. Early science, in opposition to this prevailing belief, was cast as heresy. It became a motif for Black Snow Falling.