Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for the witchy and STEM-focused middle grade marvellousness that is Morgana Mage in the Robotic Age! I was lucky enough to interview Amy Bond, the author, and ask her for a few behind-the-scenes tidbits about this fun book!
Morgana loves robots and longs to attend robotics school in the city.
But she’s a witch, living in a magical woodland community: the closest she comes to technology is petting her ancient mechanical familiar, Kitty. She simply doesn’t belong. But when she finally finds a way to the City, she learns of a troubling secret hiding beneath its gleaming surface: a secret that threatens the balance of civilization.
Caught between two worlds, only Morgana has the power to find a solution …
Morgana is a wonderfully strong character who works hard to satisfy her curiosity about technology, even in the face of huge opposition – is she influenced by anyone in particular, real or fictional?
Morgana isn’t based on anyone in particular, but I think she probably has a lot of characteristics I would like more of myself. I particularly admire her bravery, and her tenacity to follow her dreams. As with all courage, it is only real because she feels fear and uncertainty too. It is not always easy to make a place for yourself in the world, but it is worth the fight.
I loved Kitty, Morgana’s robot cat familiar – what do you think your familiar would be?
Kitty actually came to be part of the story after I made the shortlist for the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition. One piece of feedback from the judges was that a robot pet might be a fun way to show her connection to the world of technology. It was one of those suggestions that immediately felt like it should have been part of the story all along. I believe it was actually a robot dog that was specified, but I thought a cat would be interesting as a more traditional witch’s familiar, and also would be what I would like for myself.
You’re a librarian by day – what’s your favourite part about the job?
I am a librarian, but however you picture a librarian’s work probably bears little relation to what I do all day. I work in a corporate library, in a semi-state organisation that promotes the Irish food industry. I work in an office usually, though mostly at my kitchen table this year, and there aren’t many books involved, but online research databases. I do love my job though, as with all librarians your role ultimately is to help people, and whether that is to help a child find a book that sparks their imagination, or help a small food manufacturer grow their business, it is very satisfying.
What’s your writing style like – do you plan everything out as meticulously as a robot, or let the story work its own magic?
It’s definitely a bit of both. I am quite an organised person, and I like to have a plan in place of where the story will go, and how I will get there. But I also leave room for those sparks of inspiration that come along the way, where the story takes you somewhere unexpected, or a twist is revealed to you and you find yourself gasping in shock even though it is something that came from your own brain. Those moments really do feel like magic.
Laptop/phone aside, what machine do you think would be hardest to live without if you were a witch? And what spell would make your life easier?
Housework is already such a pain, I wouldn’t want to lose anything that makes it easier. I think perhaps having to wash all your clothes by hand would add the most drudgery to your life, so I wouldn’t want to lose the washing machine. I can’t drive, so would definitely love to be able to fly.
And finally, what’s next for you? Will we see more from Morgana, or are you working on anything new?
I signed with my agent, Laurel Symonds, earlier this year and have been working on something completely different to this book with her, which I have been really enjoying. It has been a fun book to spend the pandemic with. I am also starting to toy around with the first draft of something else very different, and at that exciting stage where you don’t know quite what it will become. I hope both of them may find their way out into the world.
So do I – I’m looking forward to anything else Amy writes! I hope this has tempted you to read Morgana Mage in the Robotic Age – it’s out now. Plus, if you need more convincing, keep an eye out my review next week… You can also follow Amy on Twitter as @amylouisebond, and don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour!