We all know there’s nothing that can’t be solved with a pot of tea, a slice of cake and a BIG dash of magic!
We caught up with author Andy Sagar to talk a little bit about his magical debut novel for children, Yesterday Crumb and the Storm in the Teacup. Keep reading to hear all about his new book and his tea-based inspirations…
1. Can you describe your book in 5 words?
Witches, teashops, faeries, cake, chosen family! (Is the last one cheating?)
2. As this is your debut book, what is the most valuable piece of advice you've received from other authors so far?
The best advice I’ve received is, amidst all the chaos, to always focus on the storytelling. With social media and so on, it is so easy to get caught up in a vortex of anxiety and self-doubt. But sitting with a cup of coffee as rain drums against the window, writing a story about witches and kindness, will always be a special, untouchable kind of magic for me.
3. Where did the idea for the world and magic system in Yesterday Crumb come from? Do you have stories you'd like to tell in this world about different characters or was the idea very much connected to Yesterday?
Creating the world for me was a process of unearthing the magic in the everyday. I was sitting in a real teashop and realised how enchanting everything would be if it were just mixed with a few drops of classic fantasy elements. Blends of tea could be like a witch’s potions! The customers could all be different kinds of faeries! The teapots could levitate and pour themselves!
On your second question, there are little hints of parallel stories running throughout the book, and sometimes I think I would like to find out what they are – like the tale of Maggie Hollybones, founder of the Museum of Entirely Unnatural History, which intrigues me greatly. Or perhaps it would be better for them to remain mysteries for the reader to wonder at. Who knows…?
4. One of our favourite things about the book is how comforting and cosy it felt to read. What are some of your favourite comfort books? Which genre would you say is the most comforting for you?
I’m so pleased the book cheered you up – cosiness was my number one aim when writing it! My favourite comfort books are ones that recognise the importance of ordinary things. I don’t know if that is considered a genre, but it should be! These are books like Becky Chambers’ A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven, and basically anything by Diana Wynne Jones – the queen of cosy fantasy.
5. I think a huge part of the lovely, warm feeling in Yesterday Crumb was because of how delightful the characters and the relationships between them are. Which of them do you think you're the most like? Which of them would you most want to be friends with?
I think I’m probably most like Yesterday. I’m not even remotely as feisty as she is! But she is quite an anxious person, and I’m often very anxious myself (which is probably why I love reading, and writing, cosy books so much).
In terms of friends, I’d love to be friends with Miss Dumpling. Who wouldn’t want a friend who always has cake and hot chocolate to hand! She’d always know what to say if you were worried about something, but also wouldn’t be afraid to whisk you off on an adventure to remember.
6. What’s your writing routine like if you have one? Do you have any unusual habits or quirks?
Left to my own devices, my writing routine is barely a routine, to be honest, consisting of irregular writing sprints held together by cake breaks and a prayer. Recently I’ve been forcing myself to do 25-minute pomodoro shifts – my attention span is so threadbare that a 25-minute sprint is just about all I can manage at a time!
7. What’s your favourite kind of tea?
8. Tell us what kind of brew or confectionery you'd invent if you were a tea/confectionary witch?
Hmmm… any tea that lets me fly, without a doubt! I’d love to see and move through the world in the same way that a bird does.
9. Finally, can you give us any hints as to what Yesterday will be getting up to next?
Without giving too much away, I can tell you that Mr Weep is not the only bothersome monarch Yesterday and co will have to deal with, and that her lessons in tea witchery are only just getting started.
There’s nothing that can’t be solved with a pot of tea, a slice of cake and a BIG dash of magic!
Yesterday Crumb and the Storm in a Teacup by Andy Sagar is available to buy now. A cosy magical adventure perfect for readers aged 8+, there’s magic and adventure in every teacup...