Ask Michelle

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

Latest Messages

Thank you for these wonderful books!

Dutch translation

An invaluable gift

A Love that started long ago


School Visits

Thank you very much for your work!


Trans and non binary people

Thank you

Temporary Tattoo Sheet

Raven writes...

Hi Michelle,

I've been meaning to read through Chronicles of Ancient Darkness again (as I finally have some extra time) since I recently learned that there were three new books to read! So, so excited to buy them and continue the adventures in the world I adored as a kid.

However, there's been a question on my mind ever since I was gifted my copy of Wolf Brother many years ago that I cannot stop thinking about. I have a temporary tattoo sheet full of all of the books' front cover symbols (Wolf, Orca, Ice Bear, Torak, etc.) - is this something that was placed in every hardcover copy of the book? Or was I gifted a special edition somehow? I have not seen anyone discuss this tattoo sheet online, nor do I know anyone personally who has read the series, so I have been too scared to try and use it! Though I'm unsure if it would still work effectively after so many years of preservation haha.

Is this temporary tattoo sheet special? Do you know if it was only associated with a particular edition of Wolf Brother? I'd greatly appreciate any information to help solve this decade-or-so-long mystery!

And also, thank you for writing one of the most influential book series I've ever read. The feelings I experienced when reading through the journey of Torak and Wolf have never left me, even so many years later. I look forward to completing the more recently released trilogy soon as well. Thank you.

Best wishes,

Michelle Replies...

Dear Raven, I'm so glad that you enjoyed the stories as a child.  The sheet of temporary tattoos did indeed come with a particular edition of Wolf Brother, many years ago, so by now there probably aren't that many of them left.  Indeed, I only have one copy with the tattoos in it, in my own collection - and like you, I've never tried them out.  Still, these things are meant to be used, so if I were you, I'd give them a try.  Thanks for getting in touch - and I really hope that you enjoy returning to Torak's world, in the final three books!  With very best wishes, Michelle

The World of Torak, Renn and Wolf

Noora writes...

Dear Michelle Paver,
I am a 19-year-old reader and fan from Finland. It might be quite late to express my adoration for your novels, considering the fact that your latest ones have been published over a year ago, but I would still like to try. I first stumbled upon your beautiful writing style and compelling storytelling when one of my close friends recommended Wolf Brother to me back in November 2018. I originally read the first six parts of Wolf Brother in Finnish and briefly said, I fell in love with every single page of them. Just this spring I got Viper's Daughter, Skin Taker and Wolfbane, and after life had interfered quite a few times, I finally finished reading Wolfbane this autumn. Closing the last part of what has become a favorite series of mine felt like saying goodbye to a dear friend. There isn't many words that I am able to put together to describe the whirlwind of thoughts and emotions your books have brought up in my mind during these years, but one thing is sure: I will be back to visit the world of Torak, Renn and Wolf many, many times in the future. I won't make this statement any longer, so I'll just leave it to this: thank you for writing something so authentic, original and inspiring as Wolf Brother. Your work (everything from your researches to worldbuilding and storytelling) is something one of a kind.

And if this isn't something you have already answered to somewhere, I would like to ask you the following:
Was there a certain moment or a specific reason that you become intrigued by the Arctic wilderness and the Nordic historical aspects which you write about?

Kind regards, and wish you all the best!

Michelle Replies...

Dear Noora, Thank you so much for such a beautiful and heartfelt message - and in perfect English!  I'm delighted that you enjoyed your return to Torak's world after so many years away, and even more that you intend to return.  Your question about what drew me to the Arctic and all things Nordic isn't, as I recall, something I've been asked before; at least, not that I can remember. But it's a good question, albeit one that's hard to answer, as it goes back a long way.  When I was a child, I read a brilliant English version of the Norse myths, and fell in love with them.  My favourite god was Odin (who, incidentally, had wolf and raven companions, like Torak) - but above all, my imagination was fired by the thought of the vast forests, mountains and fjords.  From then on, I was drawn to all things Nordic - and thence to the Arctic.  Perhaps too it was a reaction against my background: I was born in central Africa and my father was South African, and although I loved him, maybe unconsciously I wanted to head north, to find somewhere for myself.  But this is all after-the-fact rationalisation, and the truth is probably buried unreachably in my unconscious!  Thank you again for getting in touch, and may you spend many more happy times in Torak's world.  With very best wishes, Michelle

Thank you for writing the sequels

Kiara writes...

Hello Michelle,

I'm not sure if you're ever going to read this, but I can faintly remember that some 15 years ago when I was 10 years old, I had just finished the last book of the Chronicles of the Ancient Darkness for the first time. I could barely speak English at the time - let alone write it on your website - but I remember I wrote a similar message like this, with less structured grammar probably, asking you to write a sequel to the last book. By coincidence today I discovered there is not just one, but three! I'm happy my prayers have been heard ;-).

I've always loved your books as a child and I'm looking forward to reading these new stories about Torak, Renn and Wolf. I just wanted to thank you for your important input in my childhood's reading experience, ensuring I'm still a big reader in my young adult life.

Kind regards,
Kiara Haegeman from Ghent, Belgium

Michelle Replies...

Dear Kiara,

What a great message to receive after a long and tiring week!  I'm delighted that you're pleased about the sequels.  I know that I meant it when I told your younger self all those years ago that I didn't intend to write anything after the sixth book - but then things changed.  I had a really good idea, and I soon realised that it would need three more books, not just one.  So there we are.  I thoroughly enjoyed being back in Torak's world, and I really hope you enjoy it too, as and when you can get your paws on the books - even if though it may feel a little different, given that you're now grown up.  Thanks so much for getting in touch.  With very best wishes, Michelle

Wolf Brother

Ethan writes...

Dear Great Aunt Michelle, I have almost finished Wolf brother and I can't wait to see what happens to Torak. your book has helped expand my imagination.
But I have one question. . . is there no end to your amazing imagination ?

lots of love from Ethan.

Michelle Replies...

Dear Ethan, congratulations on nearly finishing Wolf Brother!  I don't think I can give a straight answer to your question, except to say that someone much wiser than me once said that writing is one part inspiration, and nine parts perspiration. In other words, a lot of hard work goes into it, with a just a few sparks of imagination.  Anyway, I really hope you like the ending of the story - and thanks again for getting in touch.  Love, your great aunt Michelle

Torak and Renn

Sam writes...

Hi Michelle, I have just finished Wolfbane and I’ve really enjoyed The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. My question is if Torak and Renn ever break up. If so, is it because of Torak twisting Renn’s wrist to get the black root from her medicine pouch? Thanks, Sam

Michelle Replies...

Dear Sam, I'm really glad that you've enjoyed the Wolf Brother books, right up to the ninth and last one, Wolfbane.  As a rule, I don't answer questions about what happens after the series ends, because I prefer to leave that to the reader's imagination. However in this one case I'll make an exception.  Renn forgives Torak for twisting her wrist, although if you'll remember she warns him that she'll leave him if he ever touches her in anger again.  She means it, he knows that she means it, and he never does - so they stay together.  Thanks for getting in touch - and may the guardian run with you.  Best wishes, Michelle

(lack of) Hungarian translations

Noemi writes...

Hi Michelle,
When I was younger I have started to read the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness in Hungarian. I really liked it, my sister and my mother did so, but as it turned out, we only have the first two books translated. I didn't speak any English at the time, so I had to give up on reading it. I completely forgot that the sequel even existed, but a few days ago somehow I remembered the story.
It would be really nice to have the rest of the books of the sequel translated as well, because, I think, Hungarian children would also love it.
I'd even volunteer to make a fan-made translation (though I don't have the texts yet, but I guess I can buy them online in English).
Do you think there could be a legal way for me to be able to translate the books and share them with others? I am a university student, so I don't have a degree in translation or in English yet, but I already have experience in literary translation.
All the best,

Michelle Replies...

Dear Noemi, Many thanks for your message, and it's great to know that you, your mother and sister enjoyed the first two books in the series so much. It's a lovely idea to do a Hungarian translation of the later books, but I'm afraid that as my publishers own the rights, there isn't a legal way for you to do this; and I don't think the Hungarian publishers intend to do so themselves (although you could always ask them, if you like.)  I'm sorry about this, as it's a great idea.  And I want to thank you, too, for taking the trouble to check first.  I have to say, though, that your English is so brilliant that maybe you'll now be able to enjoy the later books in English - should you wish to, of course.  Thanks again for getting in touch, and I wish you the best of luck with your university studies.  May the guardian run with you!   Michelle

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

Yuzu writes...

Dear Michelle.
I am Japanese. I love your novels!
I use a translation app because my English is not good enough.

I first read your novels 12 years ago.
For me, the world in which Torak, Ren and Wolf live is very far away, and yet very familiar. The world you write about them is clear, beautiful and palpable.
I grew up thinking of them as friends all my life.

So when the story ended and Torak, Ren and Wolf began their new journey, I was very sad that I could no longer follow their journey.

When I heard you had written 'Viper's daughter' I was delighted.
The Japanese translation has finally been released and just the other day I had the pleasure of meeting them again.

In truth, I was a little anxious. Would they stay who they are? What would I think of them as an adult? Would I be able to enjoy the journey with them as I did when I was a child?

All these fears were unfounded.

I enjoyed travelling with them.
Torak has become a little more honest and better at expressing his love for Renn. Renn was a bit timid because she loves Torak. But she was still smart and brave. She was still the wonderful girl I had always wanted to be.

I hope you know how happy that makes me!

I am so grateful that you gave me the opportunity to travel with them again.
Take care of yourself.

Michelle Replies...

Dear Yuzu Shirosaki, Konichiwa!  And what a lovely message to receive when I switched on my computer this morning.  You put it so beautifully when you say that you felt as if Torak, Renn and Wolf were your friends; they felt like that to me too, when I was writing the stories.  And like you, I felt a bit anxious when I sat down to write Viper's Daughter. I'm really delighted that you enjoyed being back in the Forest with them - and I hope that in due course, you will be able to return with them for the final two books in the series, if they are also translated into Japanese.  Thank you so much for getting in touch.  With very best wishes, Michelle

Thank you

Hazel writes...

You and your Ancient Chronicles of Darkness series is the reason I fell in love with reading and writing. They are also the reason my English improved so quickly. I was ten when I found your books, a few years after my family and I moved to the States from S. Korea, and I distinctively remember reading Wolf Brother and my mom being surprised how quickly I finished the book. Then my parents bought me the next installment and then the next, and I’d be sad because I finished it too fast and would have to wait for the next book. The original Wolf Brother, along with Spirit Walker, is still on my bookshelf with its wrinkled spine and dog-eared pages. Thankfully after Spirit Walker, I realized that hard covers are sturdier and better for long-term keeping, even if they're heavier.

I work an office job now, studying to transition into UX writing (which is much closer to the writing field than the job I have now). But I will always have stories in my head that I hope to one day muster enough courage to prioritize and publish.

Anyway, thank you Michelle, for deciding to write your books and taking the brave step to do what you wanted to do.

P.S. Wolves are still, to this very second, my favorite animals.

Michelle Replies...

Dear Hazel, thank you so much for your wonderful message, and I'm truly glad that my stories have meant so much to you. (As an aside, I know what you mean about dog-eared pages; my copy of Soul Eater has bite marks in the top right-hand corner, where Torak the wolf chewed it when he was a cub, about the same age as Wolf in Wolf Brother. Naturally, that volume is very precious to me!) I'd also like to wish you the best of luck with your own writing. It's hard work, but worth it.  Thanks again for getting in touch. With very best wishes, Michelle

Wolf Brother translations

Kit writes...

Hello Miss Paver,

I've been a fan of your Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series for 16/17 years and am recently revisiting them. Wolf Brother is the first and only book I remember reading where I was immediately sucked in by the first sentence, and Spirit Walker is the only book in recent years I've read all the way through in 1 day. I absolutely love this series and I can't wait to read the sequel 3 for the first time.
Some lead up info for my Q: I'm in the process of learning Dutch and had the thought that it'd be fun to have the goal of being able to read the Dutch translation of Wolf Brother and the other books, and I was able to find in the Wikipedia article that a Dutch translation of the series was made, but I can't find the name of it or the printing house for the life of me.
So, my question is, would you happen to know the name of either the series or publisher, or what the best way to get a translation of your books would be?
Even if you don't, I appreciate your reading this and am sending well wishes to you and yours.
Thank you,

Michelle Replies...

Dear Kit, Thanks for your question - and I'm so pleased that you enjoyed the books as a child, and it's great that you still are!  The first six books were originally published in Holland and Belgium by the house of books: sometimes abbreviated to thb, Wolf Brother was called "Torak en Wolf", its ISBN ws 9044312235, and the series title was "avonturen uit een magisch verleden". It was translated by Ellis Post Uiterweer, who translated the other five books as well.  I've got all this from my copy of the Dutch volumes,  but I have a hazy recollection that the house of books may have been taken over by another publishing house, I can't recall which.  I hope the information I've given you will help you track down a copy.  Maybe or similar could help?  Anyway, good luck - and good luck with your Dutch studies, too!  With best wishes, Michelle

Ghost Hunter

Sam writes...

When exactly is souls night is it around the winter solstice or Christmas Eve

Michelle Replies...

Dear Sam, Many thanks for your question.  Souls' Night occurs in the dark of the Blackthorn Moon.  This means that it corresponds roughly to our Hallowe'en, ie the end of October  - although of course Torak's people reckoned by the phases of the moon,  rather than sticking to a rigid calendar, as we do.   I hope this helps!  Best wishes, Michelle