Piper continues from a point two years after the end of Inquisitor. Could you tell us why you chose to do it from there?
"Rather than moving the characters on year by year, as other authors have done, I wanted to maintain the idea that each book is a snapshot of the important events of the war. This is definitely one of the most important periods in the lives of my characters, so I wanted them to have developed and aged enough to reflect that.
"Besides that, I wanted the young people of the story to have matured enough to handle the various situations that they find themselves in. I certainly wouldn't have put a twelve-year-old character through some of the scenes in Piper because it would have made their reactions and later development less believable."
You seem to be skirting around character names at the moment, is there a reason for that?
"Yes, there is! I'm really trying to be careful not to slip up. The reason is that I don't want to spoil anything for readers who might be joining the story from this point on, and who may not have read Inquisitor. It's not essential for you to have read the first book for you to read Piper, there are plenty of reminders in the new story. Though, I would say that Inquisitor sets the scene for the war and it would only enhance your enjoyment of Piper to have read it first."
Let's get down to brass tacks then. What is Piper about?
"Without giving too much away, Piper is about the parallels between the Inquisition and the Elder Council. We get to hear as much about Catchpole's past as we do about Jerrick's. We also get to see the similarities between the two factions. As with Inquisitor, it is up to the reader to decide what the sub-text of the story is, but I can say that, for me, it was important to emphasize the way we see the different types of people in our society. Especially as we seem to ignore the problems of the homeless in particular, and forget that they have a history and lives of their own.
"Piper is my way of showing how wrapped up we can become in our own lives, that we forget to think about the people around us. But fist and foremost, it's almost a coming of age story about growing up during a time of war."
Do we get find out yet who the good guys are?
"I'd say that by the time you finish Piper, you will certainly know who the bad guys are! As for the good, that will be for you to decide for yourself. Because war isn't a cut and dried affair, it all comes down to the reader's sense of right and wrong, and how strongly they feel about some of the incidents that occur.
"As Andy (the Elder Council doorman) says: 'Sometimes the hero is the one with the most blood on their hands,' and if you think about it, it's true."
Lastly, what do you want readers to get out of Piper?
"The same thing that I wanted from Inquisitor, I guess. Though the series is aimed at the Young Adult market, there's definitely something there for older readers to enjoy as well. Ultimately, I'd like to think that the audience can lose themselves in the worlds of the Inquisition and the Elder Council, and that they will allow me to sweep them along in a story that will keep them turning pages.
"In the end, I hope that readers will see Piper as a ripping good yarn and think about the deeper aspects of the story later on."