Stonebird, the debut novel by a promising new author, Mike Revell, is a story about moonlight, magic and gargoyles, and centres on a young boy whose grandma is suffering from dementia.
Mike, whose love of books was ignited by Harry Potter, grew up near Cambridge and much of his inspiration for the book came from the city’s historic streets:
“Cambridge was so important in writing Stonebird,” he explains. “Growing up in the city, browsing bookshops every lunchtime to soak up words, seeing the gargoyles of Gonville and Caius College looming over the shoppers... everything about it was influential. I dreamed up the book on walks through Jesus Green and wrote it in cafes around the city. My grandparents lived in a little village on the Cambridgeshire border, so the nearby countryside played a big part in shaping Liam’s world, too.”
Mike was particularly keen to feature the city’s many gargoyles in the story: “Something about them fascinates me. The way they’re positioned so high on old buildings, overlooking cities, watching over people who probably don’t notice they’re there. But I also wanted to write about the importance of memories, after seeing my grandma suffer from dementia for so long. As she became less and less like herself, it became our job to remember the person she used to be – to keep her alive in our minds. One day it just clicked that if gargoyles can protect buildings from evil spirits, maybe they can protect people too.”
Mike is delighted with the fantastic reception Stonebird has got so far. “It’s such a brilliant feeling to have it out in shops, but so surreal too,” he says. “I get tweeted by people saying they’ve enjoyed it, or that they’re crying on public transport, and reviews are popping up all the time. The response has been amazing, and the support from friends and family even more so. Heffers brought 70 hardback copies to the launch party and they sold out! It’s so bizarre and baffling and wonderful at the same time.”
Stonebird is in shops now, published by Quercus.