Before resting the VAMPIRATES sequence, Justin knew that his “next big idea” was already simmering away. On tour in Wales in the autumn of 2009, Justin had met an inspirational librarian, Hedd ap Emlyn, who chaperoned him for the day and (having considerable experience with horses) gave him some useful advice for Grace and Johnny’s midnight horseback ride in VAMPIRATES 5: EMPIRE OF NIGHT. Hedd (pronounced ‘Haze’) also told Justin that his daughter was taking part in a competition that day to win ‘The Poet’s Chair’. Over lunch, between school visits, Hedd explained that this term harked back to the court structures in pre-Medieval Wales, where the Poet was one of a number of key officers to the ruling Prince. “Over lunch that day,” Justin recalls, “I knew I had the seed of my next idea.” After his return to London, Justin began exchanging emails with Hedd. “He sent me through copies of some useful background documents and recommended books for me to look at, including THE LAW by Hwyel Dda.”
ALLIES & ASSASSINS is the first installment in the Enemies of the Prince sequence. It is published in the UK by Atom in September 2013 and in the US by Little, Brown in Spring 2014.
There are six titles in the VAMPIRATES sequence (not including Dead Deep):
Book 1: Demons of the Ocean (2005)
Book 2: Tide of Terror (2006)
Book 3: Blood Captain (2007)
Book 4: Black Heart (2009)
Book 5: Empire of Night (2010)
Book 6: Immortal War (2011)
Traveling to festivals, schools and libraries is a highlight of Justin’s year, when he gets the opportunity to meet avid readers and aspiring young writers.
Since the publication of his books internationally, Justin has completed events throughout the UK, in France, Australia, Sweden, and the USA – where it’s not out of the question for fans to drive across state lines for the chance to meet him!
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Billy Taylor is the resident falconer at the Lainston House Hotel near Winchester in Hampshire. I joined him on a hawk walk through the Hampshire countryside in November 2012 - with his stunning Harris hawks, Lottie and Jacob.
Penrhyn Castle was a major inspiration for the structure and detail of the palace in ALLIES & ASSASSINS. One of its best “gifts” was the balcony, which is where I imagined Prince Jared standing and giving his speech, the day after his brother’s assassination, to his grieving subjects.
My visit to Gwydir Castle was inspirational when it came to conjuring several aspects of Archenfield, the palace and its grounds. This picture shows the beautiful landscaped gardens, which I had in mind when I was writing about Asta and Silva walking through the palace grounds.
My cousin and his family live and work on a small but stunning island on the Oslo fjord. There is a traditional bathing hut right on the water’s edge and this gave me the idea for the three princes’ bathing huts in A&A.
I visited Perthshire after appearing at the Edinburgh Book Festival. When I was writing Prince Jared’s hunting expedition in the Glen at the beginning of A&A, I very much had this landscape in mind.