Inspiration for -

 The Tale of the Merph Snatcher.

Who could have guessed the havoc one baby could bring? When I stole him I thought he would bring me the love I craved, instead he changed into a fish, a pig, a maggot. He taught me that change is all, he changed me and together we changed the world.

I have always loved babies.

Even as a child I begged my Mum to have more babies as I desperately wanted a baby sister and she had given me two brothers. I used to look and listen all the time for an abandoned baby under a bush….I was pretty sure I could find one, take it home and keep it for myself!

On a country walk, telling my partner about this long ago wish, I found the nugget that began the story of Wisp the Merph. It started as a ‘be careful what you wish for,’ story and blossomed.

"Gripped by childbed fever, Caramella hears a baby crying in the Twixt."

The character of Clara is in honour of my grandmother’s baby who died aged 6 weeks in 1920. Throughout my childhood, my grandmother talked about her lost baby and I always found it dreadfully sad so I decided to give Clara a life, adventures and voice of her own. Clara became the vessel who carries the stories forward.  Set in the dene where my grandmother grew up, The Tale of the Merph Snatcher, is told to Clara through a snow-globe.

The story is a quest set in the Tudor era. A coming of age tale of change, love and loss, it has dark themes with twisted characters living in a poisoned world. It begins and ends with a Spell for Life Everlasting and the Power to Walk in Two Worlds.

 

"... the evil Moloch is banished from the underworld of L’Abime."

Caramella, is a broken girl with a wilted wing arm and webbed toes. She is considered mad, marked by her physical differences and her constant mumbling to Nag, the voice in her ear. When she summons her destiny one midnight, she becomes pregnant, something she cannot understand and hides until she gives birth to an egg. Alone, except for Nag, and terrified of a forced marriage to the town’s evil apothecary Moloch, she runs into the forbidden Twixt to snatch a crying baby.

 

And the baby, Wisp, changes EVERYTHING.

 

I’m waiting, I’m watching,” the voice wails. “I’m thinking to strip your bones. I’m tasting, I’m slurping - I shall enjoy you when you are all alone.”

- from 'The Tale of the Merph Snatcher'