Ask Michelle

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

Latest Messages

Thin Air


An homage

Inspiring a young writer

Ghost Stories for adults


Multiple questions

Future book events?

Happy 20th anniversary!!

Your most well-written villain?

German translations

Sylvia writes...

Dear Michelle,
I read some of the Torak books when they first came out (already a mature adult at the time!) and loved them, and knew they would be right up my godson Jonathan's street - now 12, he's been addicted for the last two years and has read volumes 1-5, mostly gifted by me. HOWEVER he's German, and we cannot get hold of vol. 6 ('Seelenwächter' I believe) in German anywhere! You don't happen to know of a secret stash? Any print runs planned? Such a shame they're no longer available.
Worse still, am I right in thinking the last 3 volumes haven't even been translated? In which case I'll have to tell him to get his skates on and keep working on his English...
NB. I love Thin Air & Dark Matter especially, too, and shall explore some of your other books.
Kind regards, Sylvia

Michelle Replies...

Dear Sylvia, I'm so glad that you and Jonathan have both enjoyed the Torak books; but I'm afraid I can't help you as regards a German edition of volume 6 - except to suggest a secondhand book site, such as  And I'm afraid you're correct that the final three volumes - ie books 7-9 - haven't been translated into German, so Jonathan will, as you say, need to keep working on his English, if he wants to find out what happens... Thanks very much for getting in touch, and I hope you continue to enjoy my Gothic novels too.  With very best wishes, Michelle

Dreams and Visions in the Chronicles of Ancient Dark Series

Niklas writes...

Dear Michelle Paver,
I am currently writing an essay in a class about Dreams in literature for children and teenagers. In my essay I want to take a closer look at the Chronicles of Ancient Dark as I always felt like you had a clever way to place dreams or visions in a way that not only push forward the narrative but also give great insight into one of the characters while also giving explanations for these dreams or visions that fit the lore of the world you built. I am curious as to:
1. What was your vision/intention with using dreams and visions to greater extend?
2. When it comes to Wolf how did you come up with ideas of how an animal would dream?
3. Do you feel there is anything that differentiates Chronicles of Ancient Darks usage of Dreams from other book series?

Michelle Replies...

Dear Niklas, what an interesting essay.  To answer your questions: (1) My intentions in using dreams and visions in the Wolf Brother books were largely as you say, either to drive the story, and/or to show character - while trying to stay in keeping with how prehistoric people might have thought.  In psychological terms, the dreams of Renn and Torak mostly tend to show what's going on in their unconscious: in other words, what they're not yet conscious of knowing, but are aware of at a deeper level. For instance, in Viper's Daughter when Renn dreams/has a vision of her mother, on a psychological level this is her unconscious  helping her process the fact that she has inherited aspects of her mother - which, as she comes to realise over the course of the story - aren't all bad.  Also, some of Renn's waking visions, and all of Torak's spirit walking,  are of course based on shamanism, as practised by many indigenous peoples all over the world (and probably by prehistoric people as well).  (2) For Wolf's dreams, I've used what I know of wolf and dog cognition, and I've tried to keep his dreams simpler than those of Torak and Renn, and rooted in instinct and feeling; the same goes for all the passages from Wolf's point of view.  (3) Finally, I can't really say whether my approach differs from how dreams are used in other book series, as I don't really know any.  Except, I suppose, that I try to avoid dreams being too prophetic.  I wouldn't regard that as realistic - unless, of course, the "prophecy" really relates to something that the character is already unconsciously aware of.  I hope the above proves helpful to you - and good luck with what sounds like a fascinating essay!  With best wishes, Michelle


Hale writes...

Please consider making a movie for wolf brother! It would explode in the industry. All ur other books would become hits as well once that took off. I've been reading ur books since I was 9 and I'm 27 now. I love it work and would love to see it on screen

Michelle Replies...

Dear Hale, It's great that you've enjoyed my books for so long!  As for making a film of Wolf Brother, it's not up to me, because it would be extremely expensive and I haven't got millions to spare.  In the past there have been film deals for the books, but (as mostly happens), these have petered out after a few years.  So unless and until another film studio decides to film the story - and actually follows through with it - I'm afraid you'll just have to wait and hope.  And re-read the books, of course.  Thanks for getting in touch, and may the guardian run with you... Best wishes, Michelle

Question about wolf brother

Pedrosky writes...

Hord wants to be head of the Raven Clan if Fin-kedinn dies, but Torak knows that's not going to happen, why?

Michelle Replies...

Hello, and thanks for your question.  Torak knows that Hord could never be Leader of the Raven Clan, because Hord doesn't have the qualities of a leader.  He's vain and he always wants to be first, which comes from his insecurity (because secretly he doubts that he's up to it).  By contrast, Fin-Kedinn has the courage to fight for what he believes to be right, when all others are against him; he is assured enough to admit  that he's wrong when he needs to, and wise enough to listen to others and then to make up his own mind.  He's a real leader.  Hord isn't.  I hope that answers your question - and may the guardian run with you!  Best wishes, Michelle


Further content

Conall writes...

Hi Michelle, I first started reading the chronicles of ancient darkness when I was 8, I am now 22 and still love them. I’ve seen some comments about taking the books to the screen and was wandering if along side a tv series or box set of films, I was wandering if there might be any scope for a video game on consoles or pc. Or if that has been considered yet.
I loved the recent Percy Jackson tv series (I know you didn’t write them) but I feel like that team could do your books justice if you were able to persuade them to take up the project.

Michelle Replies...

Dear Conall, it sounds as if you were one of my younger readers, if you started at eight!  And I'm delighted that you still love the books.  At the moment, things are quiet on the tv and/or film front, and so far no one has tried to develop Wolf Brother into a video game.  This is just how things go (there are fashions in film, as in everything else) - but the more important thing is that you still love the stories.  Thanks so much for getting in touch.  With very best wishes, Michelle

New Books

Darin writes...

Hi Michelle
I felt compelled to write after finishing your three ‘adult’ books. I absolutely loved each of them and couldn’t put them down until they were finished. The atmosphere you created in each was fantastic and spellbinding.
I’m a voracious reader and look forward to reading your next book.
So the question is - do you have anything in plan or on the literary horizon?
Kind regards

Michelle Replies...

Dear Darin,  I'm delighted that you've enjoyed my "adult" books!  I do have another one on the way; it's set in a rainforest and will be published  next year - but I'm afraid that at the moment that's all I can tell you!  Thanks so much for getting in touch.  With best wishes, Michelle


Walt writes...

One last thing, or as Columbo always says one more thing .

I know why reading DARK MATTER, was hard for me on a first time reading. It hit me to close to home.
My wife and I and two daughters built a small log cabin, within twenty-five miles of the Canadian border in Washington State, thirty-five miles from the nearest town.
First one daughter left to attend a University, then my second daughter left to attend the same University. Then my Wife secured a large hospital position as a RN, to help pay for the University.
I stayed at the cabin to finish the roof and had to endure several Winters in isolation and freezing cold with frost on the inside of the walls.
My companions, two dogs.
Wolfie, a blond blue eyed ,Siberian Husky, who saved me from a bear at basecamp, what I called the place.
His companion Lady, a mixed hound/doberman , who we quickly named LadyBug, because she bugged us so much.
My experiences on my land were much like DARK MATTER.
A pack of wild coyotes howling outside chasing down prey, the Bear raising up on his hind legs, who suddenly came upon me and Wolfie, who was ready to fight saved me.
Then there is the famous Bigfoot stories abounding in the American Pacific Northwest .
One last thing on my Siberian Husky, Wolfie. If he got loose and he did, he naturally ran away. The secret was to follow him slowly for a bit, then turn around and go in the opposite direction. He would dart past me and race up ahead . You the turn again and steer him in this way back to basecamp, and let him see you enter a vehicle. With the knowledge of trip to town time and good food, you leave the vehicle door open and he would voluntarily jump inside. It was impossible to catch him any other way.
Know I live with my Wife in civilization once again. Also both daughters graduated from University and are now happily married. So ends the tale.

Michelle Replies...

New Book and TV Series

Samuel writes...

Hello, I just want to say I love your book series the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. Will there ever be a new book and have you got any update in a potential TV series

Michelle Replies...

Dear Samuel, I'm delighted that you like the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness!  As regards film and/or tv, I'm afraid that's all gone quiet, so don't hold your breath (if there's anything to report, I'll post it on my website).  But as regards a new book, I'm not sure whether you know that after I finished the sixth book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness (Ghost Hunter), I took a few years away from Torak's world, and then began to miss it - so a few years ago I wrote three more: Viper's Daughter, Skin Taker, and Wolf Bane.  If you haven't yet caught up with them, I don't think you'll be disappointed!  With very best wishes, Michelle


Michael writes...

Dear Michelle, I am now 29 years old, but I grew up with your amazing series about Torak. I was the same age as Torak when I was reading the book 2006. I noticed that your newest Torak books aren‘t translated into german, so I would like to offer to translate them for you for free. I really think that everybody who started reading Chronicles of Ancient Darkness should be able to finish it, not everybody can speak english though. So I would like to translate the last three books so everybody can enjoy them. Thank you very much in advance for your reply. Your sincerly Michael

Michelle Replies...

Dear Michael, I'm delighted that you enjoyed the first six books so much, and your offer is extremely generous - but I'm afraid it won't be possible.  You see, the rights are owned by my publishers, and it's up to them to arrange translation.  At the moment they've decided against publishing German editions of the last three books, so there's nothing we can do.  But thank you very much for getting in touch.  With best wishes, Michelle

Simply, a thank you!

Otto writes...


just wanted to reach out to say that the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness were a pretty transformative part of my childhood. I remember reading the Finnish translation of Wolf Brother in just about a day. Having grown up running around the forests of rural Finland, it all just clicked immediately. Outcast ended up being the first full novel I ever read in English too — the translations were great, but I simply could not wait. Now that I think of it, I'd be surprised if your series didn't contribute to the fact that I ended up working in research, with a focus on wolves to boot.

What made me want to send this message was picking up Dark Matter last year. I'd just spent a spring in Svalbard, and what can I say: it was the same thing all over again as with Wolf Brother. Couldn't put it down. Being so familiar with environments that Torak and Renn inhabited always drew me in as a kid. And now, to experience that again as an adult who'd fallen in love with the desolate wastes of the High Arctic, was one of the highlights of an otherwise rough year.

Thank you,

Michelle Replies...

Dear Otto, What a great message; thank you!  I love the picture you evoke of your childhood self wolfing down Wolf Brother in about a day, not to mention running around in the Finnish forests (I envy you that).   I'm also delighted that you enjoyed Dark Matter, and that it reminded you of the High Arctic, which we both know and love.  But I'm sorry you had a rough year.  Here's hoping that 2024 will be better.  With very best wishes, Michelle