This month the paperback of William Horwood's Awakening hits the shelves, the first book in a wonderful fantasy series, following on from the prequel, Hyddenworld. Here at Tor towers we were lucky enough to secure a five question interview with William about Awakening and the series.  

1. How would you describe your latest novel Awakening?

Awakening is an adventure in the form of a quest … It takes a series of interesting characters, each with a different contribution to make, on a journey that has the potential to change to the world. Maybe the whole Universe! If they find what they’re looking for, which is a series of gems, all will be well. If they don’t … well, that might ultimately be the end of everything.


2. What was the inspiration for the Hyddenworld series?

A trip along the M40 motorway in which I realized that the fact that different fauna and flora use the embankments and central reservations as routeways, offered an interesting story idea. The spread of red kites on one hand and species like ragwort on the other suggested that an imaginary population of ‘little people’ might use them too. That simple idea morphed into Hyddenworld.


3. Many readers will know you as the author of the Duncton Wood series. How do you feel your writing has evolved over the years?

I moved from fantasy to ‘human being books’ as I think of them and back again. Each genre informs the other. These days I write shorter books so maybe I write tighter and with less description than before. Much as I love the landscape of Britain, the landscape of the heart interests me more these days.

4. Can you take us through an average writing day?

I wish there was one! Rather, a book is produced in different phases, each of which generates a different kind of day. First a lot of displacement activity and thinking. Then two months of initial writing. More thinking, reading and research around what’s emerged so far. Then a sudden, intense period of writing the book which is pretty much 24/7. Most people would think of this last phase as the ‘writer’s day’. In my case it starts with impulsively moving into my separate writing house. I wake early with a walk and swim. Then write until mid-afternoon. Then a sleep. Then social stuff, including with my beloved who is forbearing and patient (mostly). Then a film or dinner with friends, rarely outside Oxford. Then bed, usually by myself as I like to roam the house at night thinking/reading/looking at the stars. Dawn comes and another day begins.


5. And finally, if you could be any character in Awakening, who would you be and why?

In one sense I am all the characters, or at least bits of them. For example, I’d love to be Parlance who is a diminutive, vain but loving chef of great invention and brilliance. As it happens I cook pretty well, but I’m no Parlance! I’d like to be like Bedwyn Stort, one of the three main characters. There are bits of me in him (intense curiosity, a trusting nature) but the truth is he’s based mainly on someone else (a good friend of mine) so I can’t be him. Then there’s Jack, a heroic type who is capable of defeating all enemies. Most of us would like to be like that but rarely are. I’m tough and quick thinking but having done journalism in some very tough urban areas, I know I would not survive long in a jungle, urban or otherwise. But just long enough, I hope, to complete my quest and see my friends to safety!

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‘The writing is rich and emotive’


‘The last fifty pages of this book gave me my happiest reading experience in recent years’

‘This is a return to the traditional; an intimate, delicate and delightfully

written novel’

‘A real gem of a novel … It’s colourful, it’s incredibly creative and this new series is one that will soon become a firm favourite’

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