Ask Michelle

Here are Michelle’s most recent answers to the questions and messages readers have submitted.

Latest Messages

Question about wolf brother

Further content

New Books


New Book and TV Series


Simply, a thank you!

fan mail

My Own Expedition to Svalbard

New Book


Josh writes...

Hello my name is josh I was wondering when your next signing is in Sheffield or surrounding areas if you could help it would be great as I'm wanting tickets for my partner as your her favourite author


Michelle Replies...

Dear Josh,

It does you credit to be thinking about your partner, and I'm so glad that I'm her favourite author!  But as you'll have seen from my answers to previous questions, I'm not doing signings this year and have none planned as yet for next.  If that changes, full details will be posted on my website.

Best wishes, Michelle


Alessia writes...

Hello Michelle,

I would really like to ask you a question that I am trying to answer myself over these last few weeks and…I wonder if you ever had to choose between two dreams? I want to be an author and an actress. But sometime I feel I am drifting to the acting ‘side’, and sometimes more to the writing ‘side’. I don’t know how to decide or if I can make it as both? I mean can you even be both? Thank you for your time.

Alessia Wilimowski

Michelle Replies...

Dear Alessia,

My goodness, that's quite a question!  And it's not one I've ever had to address, as I've never been faced with it, because I only ever really wanted to write.  I don't think I'm in a position to give you advice, as the answer is, in all likelihood,  something which will probably only gradually become clear to you.  All I would suggest is that perhaps try not to think of it as an "either/or" question.  In other words, trying your hand at writing doesn't necessarily mean giving up on acting, or the other way around.  It's all about creativity, and the one feeds the other.  So perhaps give yourself permission to investigate and play around with both.

The best of luck with exploring this.

Regards, Michelle


Signing Schedule

Louis writes...

Hello Michelle!

I'm writing to inquire about if you have any upcoming signings?

Little backstory: my girlfriend grew up reading your "Chronicles of Ancient Darkness" series and apparently she had met you and gotten her copies signed way back when. Unfortunately, due to her unstable family life, she was forced to give up the books when she was 16. Now at 25, she often muses about missing them.

I think this would be a good gift for her and I'd like to see if I can go to a signing to get this done.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,
Louis Southard

Michelle Replies...

Dear Louis,

Thanks for getting in touch, and it does you great credit to be thinking of such a thoughtful present for your girlfriend.  However as you may have seen from my replies to previous messages, I'm afraid that I have no plans for further signings this year.  If this changes, details of any signings will be posted on my website.  And one final thought: if you girlfriend hasn't already read the latest three books (VIPER'S DAUGHTER, SKIN TAKER & WOLF BANE), one or other of those might make a nice present.

Again, thanks for your message.  With best wishes, Michelle



next gothic

james writes...

Hello Ms Paver. sorry i'm being nosey but wondering if you are going to continue onto a fourth gothic novel. I've brought copies for a few youngsters who have been a bit slow in picking up the reading habit and they have all been devoured - especially "Thin Air" - honestly the only recent book in the genre that comes close is "The Little Stranger" but too long for godchildren. If you're writing i shan't expect a reply but will be keeping a lookout for reviews. Thanks for the very good reads, i listened to the first two cycling to work and frequently took a longer route to Shoreditch to squeeze another 10 minutes in....V Best.....James

Michelle Replies...

Dear James,

No need to apologise and you're not being nosey at all!  It's always lovely to hear from readers who have enjoyed my books, and I'm delighted that my gothic stories,  particularly THIN AIR, have gone down well.

As it happens, I am indeed working on another gothic story.  It will be  shorter than WAKENHYRST, ie of a similar length to DARK MATTER and THIN AIR; and it is set in a rainforest.  I'm afraid that's all I can tell you at the moment, as I never like to talk about a book while I'm writing it.  And I don't know when it will be published, because I still have lots of work to do on it.  However I hope that has given you something to go on;  and thanks  again for getting in touch.

With very best wishes, Michelle



Thank-You from the bottom of my heart

Liam writes...

Dear Michelle,

Thank-you from the bottom of my heart for books you have written. They gave me an anchor into something deeper, truer and more mystical than I could ever have stumbled across otherwise. I found true companionship with the characters and guidance from the elders in those books that was unavailable to me elsewhere. Having grown up in a very repressive situation, your books gave me a sanctuary away from the harshness of the modern world. Despite being raised in a military family with little exposure to other cultures or customs, these books gave me a way out, a nostalgia for something I had never experienced but was more familiar and meaningful to me than anything I had encountered. Your words left a primal imprint on my psyche that has been whispering to me in times of strife throughout my teens and well into my adulthood. After many years of being lost, directionless and under enormous pressure from my family and peers to conform, I have finally received the call loud and clear. Today, as so many narratives built on shaky ground begin to fall around us, I feel so grounded and firm in my place on this Earth thanks to your writing which gave voice to the deepest and most repressed parts of myself.

I am far from where I grew up, but closer to the feeling of home than I have ever been. I am 28 years old, with a restored relationship with my family, living on a narrowboat, studying Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol with a special interest in Archaeoacoustics, Folk Religion and Ritual studies. Thank-you for helping me find my way home.

My greatest appreciation,

Michelle Replies...

Dear Liam,

When I read your message it brought tears to my eyes.  Over the years, certain books have given me companionship when I've needed it, and I'm truly glad that my stories have been able to do this for you.

You write about what you have gone through with such clarity, perception  and self-knowledge that  I've no doubt you have chosen a path that is right for you. I can only add that I'm delighted that this includes studying Archaeology and Anthropology - not least as it's what I would have studied had I not fallen in love with Biochemistry.  As for living on a narrowboat, I envy you that.  The opportunities for being close to nature must be truly special (depending on where you're moored, of course.!) .

Again, thank you for letting me know how my stories have helped you.  I shan't forget what you have said.

With very best wishes for a long, happy life rich in experience.


Start reading

Dean writes...

Hi Michelle, I'm a 38 year old, in my 20's I'd never read a book, I have always had a wondering imagination and love fantasy stories.

Your book were the first thing I read and started my reading journey.

They taught me how to read and how to enjoy stories.

Since that I've read hundreds including all the game of thrones, all David gemmels books.

Thank you.



Michelle Replies...

Dear Dean,

What a lovely message.  I'm delighted that my books helped you to understand how marvellous reading is, and it sounds as if you've never looked back!  Thanks so much for getting in touch - and happy reading.

With very best wishes, Michelle

Chronicles of Ancient Darkness mini series

Zach writes...

Dear Michelle Paver, I just want to say how much I love the chronicles of Ancient Darkness book series and how much it has impacted me all the way from year 6 (2017) when my primary school teacher showed me the first book till. I just want to ask if you've ever thought about writing a mini series or a sort of prequel book series to the books so we learn more about toraks father and his up bringing and when Finn-Keddinn was fostered with the wolf clan as well as when Fa joined the healers and the great fire that disbanded the soul eaters and a series where we finally learn Fa's name. You said in a previous answer how you would not want your writing quality to drop so you stopped writing the wolf brother books so how about a prequel book series?
thank you so much yours sincerely Zach

Michelle Replies...

Dear Zach,

Many thanks for that. You're not the only reader who has, over the years, asked me whether I've considered writing a prequel book or series.  However I'm afraid my answer is no.  You see, quite simply it has never appealed to me.  Perhaps this is partly because these books have always been the story of Torak, Renn and Wolf; and I can't see myself departing from that.  Also it's because I believe that the stories of Fa, Fin-Kedinn, and others, are best suggested rather than explored in detail.  They work as tantalising background (at least, I hope they do), but I wouldn't want to go into them more.  I prefer to leave them to the reader's imagination.

Finally, you're right that in the past I have said that I wouldn't want the quality of the stories to lessen.  This is one of the main reasons that  WOLFBANE will be the last of the WOLF BROTHER books - and it holds true for prequels too.  After all, it's all the same world.

So it was a nice try, Zach, and it shows how much you like the series, which is great.  But I'm afraid that you and others will have to make do with the existing nine books. I hope that you'll continue to find plenty to enjoy in them!

With very best wishes, Michelle








Signing session in Italy

Evaluce writes...

Hi Michelle!
I’m Evaluce, from Italy, and I’m nineteen.
I want you to know that I love your books in a way that can't be expressed in words (especially the series Wolf Brother❤️). They are my favourite books among all the ones I've read, and I've read more than five hundred books in my life!
Is there a possibility that you will take an autograph session in Italy? Because seeing you and having your autograph would be a dream for me!
With so much love and respect,

Michelle Replies...

Dear Evaluce,

Thank you so much for such a lovely email  - and in perfect English, too!  I'm really delighted that you like my books, it means a lot to me.  As regards doing signings, I'm afraid that at the moment I have no plans for any international travel this year or next.  This is partly due to family concerns (elderly relatives), and partly as I'm hard at work on a new book.   I'm so sorry to disappoint you.  However if things change, I will be sure to put details on my website.

Once again, thank you so much for getting in touch!

With very best wishes, Michelle

Book signing in Wiltshire

Charlie writes...


Our 11 year old Daughter absolutely loves your books. Her friend recently managed to get her book signed by you at Westonbirt arboretum and we missed it. She was so upset when she found out you had been so close and she hadn’t seen you. Do you know if and when you will next be in Wiltshire? We would love to bring her to get her book signed.

Many thanks

Michelle Replies...

Dear Charlie,

I'm so sorry that your daughter was upset about missing my signing at Westonbirt.  I'm afraid that at the moment I have no plans for further signings in Wiltshire or elsewhere this year, as I need to do some writing and see to some family stuff.

Again, I'm really sorry to disappoint her.  Thank you for getting in touch; she's lucky to have such dedicated parents!

Best wishes, Michelle



Good Quality Research

Alessia Wilimowski writes...

Hello Michelle Paver, I would like to ask how do you do sufficient research? I know you go to different parts of the world, but how do you do it when you can’t travel? Well, I guess what I am asking is how did you do research when you first started?
Thank you, your books are inspirational.

P.s I saw you at the Y.A.L.C books signing. I still have the signed book. You are amazing.

Michelle Replies...

Dear Alessia,

I'm so glad you enjoyed YALC.  As for how much research is enough, that's kind of a "how long is a piece of string?" question, but I'll do my best to answer.

If I'm new to a subject, I'll start at a broad-brush level: maybe (because I'm old-fashioned) looking it up in an encyclopaedia, and/or a few reference books at the local library.  Just to get a sense of things, and of what I might use in the story I'm thinking about writing.  If it's a region that I need to explore, I'll refer to the relevant Lonely Planet guide for idea on places to travel to.  And you might of course use the internet -  but again, at this stage, head for an authoritative source. ( The internet is also great for quickly answering a specific question, such as how does a particular birdcall sound, or something. )

If the subject isn't central to what I'm writing about, a general reference might be enough.  But often it's only the start, because a general account can't give me the interesting little details that might make a story come alive - or, crucially,  which spark ideas for the story.  For that I often resort to secondhand books (a great source is, provided you know what you're looking for). For instance, when I was writing my Gothic novel WAKENHYRST, set in the Suffolk fens, I found a 1930s poacher's memoir in a secondhand bookshop; it described "eel-babbing", a way of catching eels.  I'd never heard of that, but it sparked all sorts of ideas for the story and ended up featuring in a key scene.  That's what I love about research.  You never know what you'll find, or where it will take you.

Of course if funds are limited, you don't need to buy the books.  I've used my local library for years.  And the British Library is brilliant for "deep fishing" into a subject.  Once you have a reader's ticket, you can call up all sorts of weird and wonderful things from the stacks.  In my time I've called up court-martial transcripts, 1930s Army & Navy catalogues (for DARK MATTER), obscure booklets on folklore (for WAKENHYRST) and any number of anthropological publications for the WOLF BROTHER books.

Also, a word about location research.  You don't have to travel to the jungle to experience,for example, tropical plants; a visit to the glasshouse at Kew Gardens will bring you face to face with quite a few, and although the experience wouldn't be the same, you'll probably get something out of it that you wouldn't get by looking at a book or website on the subject.  I've had lots of ideas which I've ended up using in the WOLF BROTHER books from observing urban wildlife in Wimbledon, where I live.  It only takes imagination to transport a squirrel up a tree in a Sainsbury's car park, to Torak's world.

Finally, it's worth saying that I never really know how much research is sufficient research.  Often while I'm writing, something will crop up which, despite all my months of research, I haven't covered.  And very often, I'll end up with pages and pages of notes on something that never finds its way into the story.  That's just the way it goes.  But reading into a subject is, I think, part of what gives one assurance in the writing.  So it isn't really wasted.

I'm sorry I can't be more precise, but as you can see, this isn't a very precise topic!  However I do hope that you'll find the above pointers helpful - and the best of luck with your writing.

Regards, Michelle