Catriona Ward’s Rawblood is the perfect spooky tale for longer, darker nights.
It’s the tale of eleven-year-old Iris Villarca lives with her father at Rawblood, a lonely house on Dartmoor. Iris and her father are the last of their name, isolated from the world due to a family curse. When Iris is fifteen, she breaks her promise to remain alone all her life, and the consequences are immediate and horrific.
We invited Catriona Ward, the author of the book that’s been keeping us awake at night, over for a chat.
Who is your favourite author?
Today, it’s Ali Smith.
What book do you most often recommend to friends?
‘The Sea, the Sea,’ by Iris Murdoch. Reading it is like being in a brilliant and profound dream. Also ‘The Moonstone.’
Do you have any writing rituals?
I like to cook in the evening after a day of writing. It settles my mind.
I enjoy writing in other people’s houses. Borrowed space is very liberating. As a guest you usually don’t have to do as much washing up. This is excellent for creativity.
If you weren’t a writer what job would you liked to have gone into?
I used to love acting. It’s another form of storytelling.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
Working at an idea until it becomes a world.
What one item could you not live without?
I often break or lose things so I don’t tend to get too attached to particular items. But I do love my laptop, because I write on it.
Tell us something that will shock your readers?
Between the ages of thirteen and fifteen I would frequently be pushed out of bed by an unseen presence in my room at night. I felt its hand in the small of my back.
What makes you happy?
Walking on Dartmoor. Unprompted kindness. Fresh basil. Sunlight. Water. Books. My partner, Ed. Good and terrible television.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best writing advice I’ve been given is: get to the point. As for life advice: all problems are more manageable after three deep breaths.
The members of my dream book club would be . . .
Family, close friends and Ursula le Guin.