Ask Michelle

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

Latest Messages

Wolf Brother

Torak and Renn

(lack of) Hungarian translations

I am a Japanese reader of the Japanese translation of Viper’s daughter.

Thank you

Wolf Brother translations

Ghost Hunter

Thank You

Growing up with your books

The art of building suspense in words

Wolf brother Artwork/Illustratio

Nadia writes...

I have loved your books since I was little. I aspire to be an artist/illustrator. And for my final project for university have illustrated 5 double page spreads and a book cover back and spine for the book wolf brother. Illustrating Torak, Fa, wolf and the bear. It would be a dream come true for you to see my work. I am a huge fan and adore your work. You inspire me!

Michelle Replies...

Hello, Nadia.  I'm delighted and honoured that my stories have inspired you!  Last time I looked, there was a place on my website for readers to post artwork. If you feel comfortable with showing your work, that would be a good way of lett ing me see it too; but only if you're comfortable with that.  Either way, huge congratulations to you for having completed what sounds like a substantial final-year project - and the very best of luck with your career as an artist/illustrator!

Best wishes, Michelle

Horror books

Sidonie writes...

Hey Ms Paver, I hope this finds you well
I came across Wakenhyrst by chance a few years ago and I fel9 in love with your style of horror writing. After finishing that, I devoured Thin Air (I member thought I'd legitimately be afraid of a backpack!) and Dark Matter - the latter which I just finished re-reading.
I was wondering, will you write any more horror? I can't seem to get enough!
From a huge fan in Australia, Sid 😊

Michelle Replies...

Hello, Sid, and thanks for your lovely message!  I'm so glad that the backpack in Thin Air did its job.  As it happens, I've just finished another ghost story, this time set in the rainforest.  I don't yet know when it'll be published (editing, choosing covers etc all take many months) - but I think it's some of my best work, and I don't think you'll be disappointed.  As soon as I know more, it will be posted on my website.

Again, thanks for getting in touch.

With best wishes, Michelle

Future Ghost Stories…

Daryl writes...

Dear Mrs Paver,
As somebody who has to read a lot at their desk for their job, I noticed myself no longer reading for fun - I simply could not face the ever growing pile of books on my "to be read" shelf (now shelves...). I thought I ought to try something different and see if that lifted the plague of apathy i had towards reading anything that wasnt required for my job. After some digging (and randomly adding to my basket), my partner & I were surprised to see your book "Dark Matter" on both of our wishlists so I decided to buy it - if worse came to worse I could donate it to them.
Well, I was only a third way through Dark Matter before I purchased Thin Air. You have reignited my love for reading, the excitement to get into bed and get lost in another world before leaving our world to sleep. I finished Dark Matter in two days - i wish i had savoured it more but your writing didnt allow me to stop! Im now almost finished with Thin Air, another masterpiece I cant stop raving about to anybody who will listen.
I can see in other questions youve been asked to write an awful lot more books within the other worlds you have created. I feel cheeky asking if we could hope for another ghost story - knowing just how much love & time goes into each novel. But I cant help but hope I havent been greedy and devoured your two ghost story books within a week. If a ghost story isnt a future goal of yours, just know my disappointment is testament to your astounding work and you've not only created 2 books I adore, but you've also given me the ammunition to make time for myself doing what i love most: reading, reading and more reading. Love and light to you. And my utmost thanks. Daryl.

Michelle Replies...

Oh, Daryl, what an absolutely marvellous message to find as I was about to switch off my computer and go to bed!  I do feel for you when you noticed that you were no longer reading for fun.  That must have been truly disconcerting, to put it mildly; and I'm delighted that my stories helped you get over what you aptly call "the plague of apathy".  I don't think you were greedy at all for reading Dark Matter and Thin Air in a single week, I think it's great.  I intended them to be read that way, in a very few sittings, so that the reader remains immersed in the story.  As to writing more ghost stories, I love writing them, even though they're by far the hardest things I 've ever written; but I can only create them when I get a really good idea, and I never know when (or if) one will come along.  However you'll be glad to learn that since Thin Air, I have indeed written another novel, Wakenhyrst, which was published in the UK in 2019.  It's set in Edwardian times, in an old English manor-house in the fens; and although I would tend to call it Gothic rather than a pure ghost story, it certainly has a strong spectral element.  Also, I'm in the process of finishing another ghost story.  It doesn't yet have a title and I don't know when it will be published, but it's set in a remote part of the Mexican rainforest, and I think it's one of my best.  I hope you enjoy it when it comes out - and in the meantime, it's wonderful to know that you've regained your love of reading.  Thank you so much for getting in touch.  With very best wishes, Michelle

Dark Matter

Michael writes...

Just writing to express how much I enjoyed your novel Dark Matter. It's the only book I have finished reading and immediately had to reread.

Michelle Replies...

Dear Michael, That's one of the nicest compliments on my writing I've ever received.  Thank you, it means a lot!  With very best wishes, Michelle

Publishing Suggestions

Stephen writes...

Dear Michelle Paver,

I am an educator and a writer from Colorado, USA. I have immensely enjoyed your Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series, as well as Gods and Warriors. I love how you sweep the reader right into the world of your books. You became one of my favorite authors ever since I discovered Wolf Brother.

I have been working on a fantasy novel for younger readers, and I was wondering if you would be willing to share some advice on how to get published? Navigating markets and hunting for agents can feel like stumbling through a maze. What do you suggest for a novice novelist? I would appreciate your insight.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to any other novels you plan to write!


Stephen C. Curro
Windsor, Colorado, USA

Michelle Replies...

Dear Stephen, I'm so glad you've enjoyed the Wolf Brother and Gods and Warriors stories. As to getting published, some things may have changed radically since I was trying to do it back in the 1980s and 90s - but some things haven't. For instance, I too felt as if I were "stumbling through a maze", as you put it.  Here are my top tips :

  • ONLY submit your story when you've got it the way you really, really want it. Re-write it, leave it for a few weeks, then read it critically and re-write some more.  And so on. (Should you get someone else to read it? That's up to you, but personally I never have. I think it's too risky to rely on one person's opinion.)
  • Send it to an agent or publisher who publishes YOUR kind of story - AND send it in the way they like to receive submissions. This is crucial.  For instance if an agent  wants a letter and the first chapter, send that - and ensure that your letter is short and pithy!  (Don't be tempted to send the full typescript, it will go straight in the bin.)  How do you find out what different agents & publishers want? In pre-internet days I used two directories of UK publishers & agents, The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook  and the Writer's Handbook; I imagine both will now be online, and there should be similar resources in the US.  Failing that, agents' and publishers' websites often give useful guidance: follow it to the letter.
  • Be prepared for multiple rejections. They hurt, but they're a fact of life. Rage, grieve, mope; then pick yourself up off the floor and send it out again.   Or write something new.
  • Should you research the market? Hmm. Personally I wouldn't when it comes to WHAT to write. (For instance, when I was writing Wolf Brother there were no children's books set in the Stone Age; but did that show a gap in the market, or no demand? I had no idea, but I wanted to write the story, so I did.)  That said, it can help to look at a few books in your genre, to get an idea of basics like novel length and chapter length.  But approach this with care: researching the market can be discouraging. If it makes you lose faith in your story, step away.
  • Above all, KEEP GOING! It took me 16 years to get published, and that's not unusual. But ponder this: if you give up, you can be 100% certain that you'll never get there. If you keep at it, you've got a chance. That thought kept me going through the dark times when I felt hopeless.  Maybe it will do the same for you.
  • Doubtless there's lots more guidance on the internet, but these are my top tips.  I hope you find them helpful. And I'd like to wish you the very best of luck with your novel - as and when it sees the light of day! With best wishes, Michelle

COAD series Translated.

Dimitrios writes...

Hello there Michelle.

I don't know if i'm the latest fan of your books but I bet I'm one of the oldest. I've read wolf brother last year and since then the series became instant favourite.
The problem is that in Greece only the first 5 books were translated. Is there any hope we get more?
I know is easy to get them in English but reading them in my first language is far more natural to me.

Michelle Replies...

Hello, Dimitrios, it's absolutely great to know that you've been enjoying the Wolf Brother books!  I'm so very sorry that only the first five were translated, and it seems particularly unfortunate that the publishers decided not to translate the sixth book.  However I'm afraid that authors don't have a say in whether their overseas publishers translate all their books, and the same is true for me.  To my knowledge, there are no current plans to translate books six to nine into Greek. That's a great pity, and I can completely understand that you would much prefer reading them in Greek.  But I'm afraid your only option is to read them in English - should you wish to, of course.  I'm sorry I can't give you better news. But thank you so much for getting in touch, and I hope that you can continue to enjoy the books, in some form or another.  With very best wishes, Michelle

Audiobook for Spirit Walker & Soul Eater not available in the US?

Timberlee writes...

Dear Michelle,
I’ve loved the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series (as well as the audiobooks) since I was a little girl. I collected both the physical books and all the audios narrated by Sir Ian McKellen. Sadly, due to domestic violence I’ve lost all my copies. I’ve recently finished the first book again and would love to continue to listen to them all but the 2nd and 3rd installments are not available where I live in the US. Apple Books, Amazon, everywhere it is unavailable; Is there anyway to buy these two audiobooks? Thank you so much!

Michelle Replies...

Dear Timberlee,

It's great to know that you've enjoyed the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness so much, and for such a long time.  I'm really sorry that you've lost all your copies, and under such difficult circumstances; you have all my sympathy.  As regards replacing the audiobooks, I'm afraid I'm not the person to help you, as availability is up to the publishers and their audiobook associates.  I can only suggest that you contact my US publishers, HarperCollins Children's Books; they may be able to help. Failing that, an online seller of secondhand audiobook CDs might help; although you may already have tried that.  I'm so sorry that I can't be of more help - and I do hope that your domestic situation is calmer and more peaceful now.  Thanks for getting in touch,

With very best wishes, Michelle

Future books

Graham writes...

Is there any chance of novels on the Upper Palaeolithic , Mesolithic and Neolithic ages in Europe and the Mediterranean ? I am 78 , an ex- archaeologist (if such a thing can exist) and ageing child , and have just finished the final Wolf Brother novel , and am rapidly developing worrying withdrawal symptoms . You write so vividly and make prehistory come alive . I recommend you to all my archaeological cronies , and explain that your stories open up the mind and imagination .... something that the archaeological world needs more of .
Thank you for all the pleasure and delight that your books have given me .... you must have a touch of Wm. Blake's Divine Imagination .
Graham Adamson .

Michelle Replies...

Dear Graham,

Please accept my apologies for such a late reply. I've just spent the past five days in deepest Sussex, without access to emails, and I only saw your delightful message on returning home this afternoon.  And what a lovely message to find!  I am so pleased  that you've enjoyed my Wolf Brother books.  Pleased?  That doesn't go far enough.  I'm also very proud - not to mention relieved - that they meet with your approval, given your expertise as an archaeologist (and no, I wouldn't have thought that archaeologists can ever truly retire, not really).

As for the chance of further novels set during the Upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic or Neolithic - I can only say that I have no plans for any.  I know I said the same thing a few years ago when I finished Ghost Hunter, and then I changed my mind and wrote three more books; but this time it feels different.  I really do think that I've given Torak, Renn and Wolf a good send-off; and I can't imagine writing a novel set in any period of the Stone Age, without including them.  So I'm afraid you'll have to make do with nine Mesolithic novels from me.

Thank you again for your wonderful message - and for that reference to Blake, which I shall cherish.

With very best wishes, Michelle




A little thank you

Anna writes...

Dear Mrs Paver,

I do not exactly have a question, I would only like to tell you how much Chronicles of Ancient Darkness mean to me.
I first stumbled upon them in my local library when I was still in primary school and their covers immediately caught my eye. I remember reading so late into the night my mom was not happy about it because I had school the next day (but it didn't stop me!). I recommended the franchise to anyone who would listen and many of the people I talked to about it actually went and read it and loved it so much.
The fact that you took the time to do such a throughout research about everything makes the story so unique and captivating. It is really easy to get absorbed in it and feel like you are there with Torak, Renn and Wolf for every second of their adventure.

A few years back I finally bought the whole collection and read it again (like many times before) and when I found out that three more books were coming I felt like a child again, transported back to when I first read the first one with excitement.
I was so sad to hear the TV series will not be happening but knowing that I can always come back to the physical books and the amazing audiobooks soothed my sadness really quickly.
The story and its remarkable world you have created will forever be in my heart and as a little reminder I got a tattoo on my arm of some of the symbols in each of the six original books. It makes me happy just to look at it!

Thank you again and I wish you all the best,

Michelle Replies...

Dear Anna,

I read your email after getting home from a very long day sorting family stuff (I have a 92-year old mother) - and it was such a delight!  I really enjoyed reading your account of how you discovered the Wolf Brother books, and of what they meant to you.  And I had to smile when you said that when you were  a child, you got told off by your mother for reading too late at night.  The same thing happened to me when I was a child, and it was very much in my mind when I started writing Wolf Brother.  My aim, as I have often told interviewers, was to get children told off for reading in bed at night!  So my apologies (sort of) to your mother; but I bet she was secretly pleased that you were  reading a book.

I'm also delighted that you have enjoyed the final three books in the series - as well as Ian McKellen's magnificent readings of the audiobooks.  And I love the sound of those tattoos; what a great idea.  Thank you so much for getting in touch - and may the guardian run with you!    With very best wishes, Michelle

film adaptation of the book series Chronicles of Dark Times

Vera writes...

Hello, Michelle Paver, I am Vera and I really love your series of books Chronicles of Dark Times. I really want to participate in the film adaptation of this series of books in the role of Renn. Is it possible?

Michelle Replies...

Dear Vera,

Thanks very much for your message - and I'm delighted that you like my books!  I'm really sorry, but as you'll see from my answer to Tereza today, the proposed tv series is no longer going ahead.  I should add that you are not alone in wanting to play Renn: over the years, many readers have got in touch with me with similar requests, and/or hopes.  It's interesting that Renn's is the role which seems most popular.

Again, I'm sorry to disappoint you.  I hope, though, that you can still continue to the enjoy the books.  And thanks for getting in touch.

With very best wishes, Michelle