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Reader Q&A with Vashti Hardy

Author Vashti Hardy with reviewer Miles, aged 5

The Griffin Gate books, by bestselling author Vashti Hardy, are heartfelt, action-filled steampunk adventures.

With illustrations by Natalie Smillie and a dyslexia-friendly layout and design, these books are suitable for all readers 6+ and our reviewers love the exciting stories.

"I love this book it is only short but an outstanding novella by Vashti Hardy packed full of of lies, adventure and best of all MAGIC !"
MS1, aged 8 The Griffin Gate

"This is a ten out of ten book! I couldn't stop reading this so I read it in a really short time."
Ella, aged 9 The Raven Riddle

"I loved this book so much I wished it was longer, it is filled with ravens and a long-legged house (yes, I do mean a house with long legs)… The plot was fun and unusual with an unexpected ending. I want to read more books in this series."    
Dragon Rider - aged 9 The Raven Riddle

Miles, aged 5, reviewed book three The Raven Riddle for us and said
"I wanted to give it 7 stars... It's an exciting story and I couldn't stop reading it. There's a few pictures and I like them. I want to get the other books too."

Miles had the chance to ask Vashti some questions about the books, her writing and her inspiration for the series. 

Check out their wonderful Q&A below and you can download free activity sheets based on the series from the Barrington Stoke website here.

Reader Q&A with Vashti Hardy

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reader q&A with vashti hardy

1. In Raven Riddle there is a mechanical raven. What mechanical pet would you choose? 

I would go for a mechanical wolf because they’re intelligent and loyal to their pack. I also think it would look really cool too!

2. Were you ever in scouts or a club that taught you fighting and skills that you used the ideas from for the characters? 

I was a venture scout for a while but we didn’t learn any martial arts. I would love to give Kung Fu a try — it looks really fun as well as requiring discipline and focus. I think that’s why I made Grace good at martial arts because she loves to have fun as well as mastering different skills.

3. Did you have the ideas for all of the books before you started writing? 

No, I’m never sure until I’ve finished the last book! I have lots of possibilities stored in my imagination, and when it comes to writing the next I have a good brainstorm and try to work out which would work best for the next adventure. I like to collect pictures that could spark the next idea and help me build the next setting Grace travels to.

4. Where do you like to be when you write books? 

I like writing at my desk where I have a pinboard of inspiring photos and a nice view, but really I’m happy anywhere. I also love to have nice things around me when I write, like fairy lights and snacks, and I often listen to movie soundtracks to get me in the writing zone. Other places I write are in the garden, on the sofa (comfy!) and even on the beach.

5. How many books have you written? 

This year my tenth book is out, but I have four more which are in progress at the moment. I’m juggling three series with the Griffins, Harley Hitch, and Brightstorm, as well as standalone stories. I love writing series as they give you a chance to get to know characters in all sorts of situations. It’s like visiting old friends. 

6. What is your favourite book you have written and why? 

That’s a difficult question because I’m proud of them all in their own way, but if I had to choose one, I would say Brightstorm because it was my first published book and without it I wouldn’t have all the others!

7. What is your favourite book to read?

I’ma big fan of the Wolf Brother series by Michelle Paver. They’re great adventures set in Stone Age times and have fabulous maps. You can probably tell by my books that I love maps!

8. Do your children like to read your books? 

My children are all grown up now and they don’t always read the whole thing, but they are really helpful when I’m bouncing ideas around. I chat to them a lot about the storylines and different ways I could go with plot and character. 

9. You have written lots of adventure stories do you like to go on adventures or did you play adventures when you were younger? 

When I was growing up we didn’t have much money for trips abroad, so all my adventures were playing with my siblings and cousins in my Nan’s huge garden, or scrambling over the beaches and hills of Sussex pretending I was in an amazing fantasy adventure like Narnia or the Hobbit. I always had a big imagination for teleporting myself to other worlds.

10. In Raven Riddle Grace is a really strong girl. Do you think it's important to show that girls can be strong? 

Absolutely. I always try to create worlds that have a varied portrayal of different roles and personalities. Grace is strong mentally as well as physically capable, but she also has flaws in that she can be a bit rash with her decisions at times. I also think it’s good to have characters that might have a quieter strength. I was quiet at school, but sometimes quiet people have the strongest and noisiest thoughts! I think Tom has a quiet strength in the series, which is why he and Grace compliment each other and make a good team.

Reader Q&A with Vashti Hardy
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The Raven Riddle

Grace's family are wardens of the Griffin map, using its teleport technology to fight crime across Moreland. And now there's someone new on the team: Tom Eely, who has been training hard to become a warden.

Grace and Tom reckon they're ready to tackle a mission together, but they're disappointed when Mum sends them to a quiet mountain village where ravens have been pestering the locals. Surely they won't be any opportunities to use their exciting gadgets or combat skills there?

But as the pair investigate, the situation becomes more puzzling. Why does it seem like the ravens are protecting something? And are the villagers' tales of a mountain witch really to be believed? Grace and Tom will have to use all their wit, skill and courage if they want to solve the raven riddle ...

Bestseller Vashti Hardy returns with another heartfelt and action-filled addition to the Griffin Gate series.


more books by Vashti Hardy

Reader Q&A with Vashti Hardy

10th May 2022

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