I am delighted to have one of Britain's finest Young Adult authors on the blog today with a guest post about birds in connection with her new book, The Obsidian Mirror, which is published this month.
I do most of my writing in a room at the back of my house. It overlooks a small garden with a lilac tree, usually full of sparrows, and lawn picked over by blackbirds. There are also a few cats that visit, and a pair of gulls that turn up at exactly 4pm every day when my neighbour fills his seed tray.
The birds are a great distraction.
When stories get tricky, or I don't know what to do next, I usually get up and stare out of the window. I think that's how a lot of birds get into my books, just by my seeing them, and because birds have such a lot of folklore attached to them. Especially the crow family, my favourites.
I was once at a writing conference in an old building, a school. I had collected the key to my room and was on the way there when I passed a downstairs window and was startled by a crack of black hitting the pane inside the room. Looking in, I saw it was full of jackdaws. They must have come down the chimney and were panicking to get out.
I had to go and find the door to the room, go in and try and cross it to open the window before they all killed themselves.
Terrifying, in some weirdly prehistoric way.
I used that incident in a book called Crown of Acorns. In my new book The Obsidian Mirror, the tribe of the Shee, dark fairies that live in the woods of Wintercombe Abbey, sometimes appear as flocks of starlings, descending in fluttering clouds of beak and feathers, or flocking like they do near here, out on the estuary in winter.
There's one of them now, on the lawn. It's looking at me with a dark beady eye.
But don't get me wrong.
I really like birds.
The Obsidian Mirror is published by Hodder Children's Books on the 4th of October. This is the first book in the Chronoptika series.
To find out more about Catherine Fisher: