Voyage of the Sparrowhawk Blog Tour: Author Interview with Natasha Farrant

Hello everybody! Today I’m ridiculously excited to be part of the blog tour for Voyage of the Sparrowhawk, the latest release from Natasha Farrant. I’ve been a huge fan of her books for absolutely ages, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that I got to interview her. Onto the post!

1. Can you please describe Voyage of the Sparrowhawk in 5 words? 

Orphans (go on) epic narrowboat adventure (with) dogs. (the brackets are me cheating…)

2. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love your characters in this book, and in the Children of Castle Rock! How do you go about creating them, and making them come alive on page the way you do? And do you have a favourite character you’ve written? 

There’s no single answer – some characters pop up almost fully formed like old friends, others take longer to know. With VOYAGE OF THE SPARROWHAWK I did something I’ve never done before, which was to do several pages of free writing from the point of view of each character – even the dogs! Nothing to do with the actual story, just all of them rambling on about what they’re up to, what they want, what makes them sad, angry, happy… whatever came up. None of it made its way into the book, but by the time I started writing the story I felt like I knew them all really well. I also drew some of them. I’m not much of an artist, but it was interesting to see what came up. Lotti was wild – all hair and swirling clothes. Ben was neater, but utterly loveable. I have a number of favourites characters, but for now Lotti is definitely top of the list. She’s so optimistic and refuses to be limited by circumstances. I think she could possibly be quite exhausting in real life, but you would never be bored with her!

3. I’m also obsessed with your writing style- which is so distinctive- and the settings in both your last two have been amazing. What tips would you give to writers trying to create similarly vivid settings? 

Base them on somewhere you know, so that you have a clear idea of what they look like. Draw maps and sketches, so that your book’s topography is clear in your head. These don’t have to be in any way artistic – no-one else need see them – but it will help you. Also, think of the setting with all your senses. Not just what it looks like but how it smells, feels, sounds, even tastes if that’s appropriate!

4. I’m such a big fan of your Bluebell Gadsby series as well, and the chaotic family dynamic in it is so wonderful! Who are some of your favourite fictional families, and why?

I love the March girls in Little Women. They’re so brave and they’re such a unit, and Marmee such a tower of strength. 

5. As well as writing, you also work as a literary scout. What sort of things do you do as part of this job? Has it influenced your career as an author in any way, do you think?

As a literary scout, I am paid by my clients (publishing companies in eight different countries, as well as two film and TV production companies) to find children’s books for them to translate or adapt. It involves a lot of reading, liaising with publishers and agents, and really understanding my clients’ needs to identify stories suitable for their lists. There is a crossover with my writing, of course, but not as much as you might think. In general, I try to keep both lines of work separate. 

6. What is your writing routine like? Do you have any unusual habits or quirks, and has lockdown changed anything about it? 

I like to write in the morning for two or three hours a day. In the early stages of a book I write longhand, either in pencil or with a fountain pen (I really try to avoid disposable plastic pens), always in Moleskine notebooks… When I’ve written a number of pages, I type them up, editing as I go. Then for the rest of the day I work at my scouting job. Later in the process, once it’s all typed up, I’ll take myself off somewhere quiet to focus on nothing but editing and rewriting for a week or two. I edit in pencil on the typed-up manuscript, type up again, print off, and repeat, repeat, repeat until it’s over…

Lockdown was difficult because like so many people I felt worried and discombobulated and it was hard to concentrate. Also, my favourite writing places – local cafes, the London Library – were all closed. I realised how much I need to be able to move to different places to be able to focus. And there were lots of people in the house… It’s getting easier now.

7. Over the course of your career, you’ve written for lots of different age groups and in different genres as well. Is there anything you’ve not done that you’d really like to, and something that you don’t think you’d ever want to try? 

I’d love to write a picture book and a detective series, but I know both are fiendishly difficult.  I’d be hopeless at writing horror. I had to sleep with the duvet pulled over my head for years after my cousin forced me to watch Dracula when I was twelve. 

8. Finally, can you tell us anything about what you’re working on at the moment/you’ll be releasing next? I absolutely can’t wait to read it, whatever it is!

I’m working on various short stories, and another adventure story in the same vein as THE CHILDREN OF CASTLE ROCK and VOYAGE OF THE SPARROWHAWK, but I can’t say too much about them now…


Favourite chocolate: I have a strange fondness for rose fondant cremes…

Game show I’d like to be on: Would I Lie to You?

Favourite dog: cocker spaniel

Favourite book of 2020: other than books for work, I have been ploughing through WAR AND PEACE since the beginning of lockdown, so it would have to be that. Only another 250 pages to go, so maybe I’ll be done by Christmas…

Thank you so much for having me on your blog!



Are you planning to pick this book up? Have you read any of Natasha’s others? I’d love to hear in the comments! Amy x


Author: goldenbooksgirl

Disabled book blogger who also writes TV, film, music and other posts from time to time | UKYABA Champion Teen 2018 | Email: | she/her

5 thoughts on “Voyage of the Sparrowhawk Blog Tour: Author Interview with Natasha Farrant”

  1. Hi – what a great interview. Thanks for introducing me to Natasha Farrant. I haven’t read her books, but I’m going to look for them now. Also, I love the cover of Voyage of the Sparrowhawk. Makes me want to pick it right up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, it was so special for me to get to interview her since I’ve been reading her so long! I really hope you enjoy anything of hers you pick up, and thank you again for your lovely comment because it really made my day 💜
      And the cover really is stunning, isn’t it? I adore David Dean’s illustrations!

      Liked by 1 person

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