The Elsewhere Emporium is here… Are you ready?
We only have to wait a tiny bit longer… The Elsewhere Emporium is reappearing 13 September 2018! In the carnival-tastic sequel to Ross MacKenzie’s The Nowhere Emporium, we meet some new faces and catch up with our favourites too.
Read the extract below for a first glimpse of one of the new characters. Who is he? And what does he have to do with the Emporium?
Mayfair, London, 1967
When the man approached Number 120 he stopped at the foot of the steps and cast his eye over the building. There he stood for some time, examining every brick, every pane of glass in every window. When he was satisfied, he climbed the steps. He put his ear to the fine black door, listening intently. Then he pulled his head away, removed one of his gloves, reached out and traced an invisible shape on the door with his finger. He popped the finger in his mouth and rolled the taste around.
Only when all of this was done did the man in the crimson scarf at last reach into the pocket of his coat, bring out a key, open the door and enter the house.
He closed the front door behind him softly and took off his coat and scarf. He hung them on an iron coat stand by the door, and turned to observe the hallway, painted in shades of shadow and dust. Inhaling deeply, the man smelled the cold emptiness of the tall house, the stale carpets and fabrics, the rotting wood, the dampness.
The man’s mouth twitched very slightly at the corners. Not quite a smile, but almost. He reached into the pocket of his suit jacket and brought out a small, plain-looking book with black-edged pages and a black cover. When he held the book, it was small enough to sit comfortably in his palm, and it fell open at a particular passage. The book opened here because this text had been used many, many times before. The man in the crimson scarf himself had read these words countless times, and the fingerprints of his predecessors spanning generations were imprinted on those pages.
He ran a finger down the page, shook his head in appreciation of the craftsmanship. Every time he came upon a piece of magic such as this, which was rare to say the least, a part of him would sadden, because magicians these days just couldn’t create magic this special any more. The art had gone out of it. This enchantment – and that’s what it was, an enchantment – came from a rich era in the history of magic.
He read the enchantment aloud, his lips curling around the crisp words, and as he spoke the house filled with crackling energy. When he reached the final few words, he slowed and closed his eyes, relishing every syllable.
Eyes still shut, he breathed in and found that the smells of the empty house, the damp and dust, were gone, replaced by a cocktail of aromas: burning oil lamps and lush, thick carpet, polished wood and a crackling coal fire.
The man in the scarf opened his eyes. He smiled, as he did every time he witnessed the results of the enchantment.
The house had transformed.
Where there had been shadow, there was now golden lamplight. Where there had been dust and torn wallpaper, broken mirrors, fallen paintings, everything was now spick and span, rich and gleaming.
“Welcome back to the Bureau, Mr Ivy, sir. How was the journey?”
More about The Elsewhere Emporium
Discover the highly anticipated sequel to Ross MacKenzie’s Blue Peter Best Story Award Winner The Nowhere Emporium. In The Elsewhere Emporium, an invisible criminal has stolen the legendary ‘shop from nowhere’. Can Daniel and Ellie save it before the mysterious culprit succeeds in their quest for revenge?
Haven’t had time to read The Nowhere Emporium yet? Don’t worry! You can pick it up here.
Caroline Clough — Author Interview — Black Tide
Q: What inspired you to write Black Tide?
Caroline Clough [CC]: When I came to the end of writing Red Fever I was really sorry to say goodbye to Toby and his family. I really wanted to know what happened to them next! I didn’t know then where they were going to end up though they were supposed to be heading for Orkney. After visiting many schools and talking to hundreds of pupils who all wanted to know what befell Toby next too, I knew that I had to write the next adventure; Black Tide.
Q: What was it like writing a sequel?
CC: It was very hard as my editor wanted the sequel to be able to be read by children who hadn’t read Red Fever, as well as those that had. This meant that I couldn’t assume that the reader knew all about Toby and his friends and family and neither could I keep referring to things that had happened in Red Fever. The easy bit was creating a new set of dangers and adventures as Toby struggles to survive in the post-apocalyptic world. I had great fun inventing new characters such as Tash, Toby’s new friend, and the evil General with his fierce henchmen, the raiders. I especially loved writing about Snowy, the wolf-dog who comes to Toby and Tash’s rescue just when things look bleak.
Q: Have you always wanted to be an author?
CC: Yes, very much so. I thought I was going to be an author from a very early age, and when, at the age of fourteen, I was runner-up in a national writing competition I thought my path in life was assured. However, my plans got way-laid somewhere and I ended up as an animal behaviourist! It wasn’t until many years later that I came back to writing fiction and now am busy following that avenue and really loving it.
Q: What’s the best thing about being an author?
CC: It is a wonderful life being an author. I am so lucky to be able to decide how to organise my days; every day is different. One day I might be writing about Toby and the mad world in which he lives, another day I might be out and about researching the places he is travelling through on his latest mission, and yet another day I might be sitting in my garden thinking of another set of stories for younger children which I am currently writing. But probably my best days are those I get to go and visit a school to talk about my books. I love meeting my readers who are all so enthusiastic and happy to chat and ask lots of questions. Meeting young people is a real privilege that comes with being an author — it helps to keep me young and inspired about my writing!
Q: Toby travels all over Scotland in Black Tide. Did you do any research to help you write about the different locations?
CC: Yes — in Red Fever the story was based in the North East of Scotland around where I have lived for thirty years so I didn’t need reminding of those places. However, with Black Tide although the locations were known to me, I wanted to go and capture their atmosphere in my mind. This meant that my husband and I spent some brilliant weekends touring Scotland to visit those places. I took pictures and made notes so that when I sat down to write about them, I knew exactly how they felt, smelt and looked like. It was important to me to recreate them accurately so that my readers could get a feel for the places and see exactly where the action all takes place.
Q: What is your favourite part of Scotland?
CC: That’s a very difficult question to answer! There are many places all over Scotland that have very special memories for me and my husband and family. One of those is Achiltibuie where the mountains sweep down to the white beaches and into the blue sea. It always seems to have better weather than we do here in Aberdeenshire! However, this is a beautiful area to live in too. I’m only ten miles from the sea, and there are dozens of castles and historical buildings and amazing walks. However, sometimes the weather can be rather daunting!
Q: Why did you include menacing dogs in your books?
CC: I knew from my work as an animal behaviourist that if human control was taken away from dogs, such as after the red fever had killed most people, then they would revert to natural wolf-like behaviour such as hunting in packs. I wanted the dangers in my books to be realistic and likely to happen after an apocalypse. I wanted my readers to be able to relate to the fears that Toby and his friends were feeling. Also I think that as humans we still have a primal fear of wild dogs from our days as hunters living in the pre-civilised times. Who doesn’t have shivers running up and down their spine when they hear a wolf howl, even if it is only on the TV?
Q: Apart from Black Tide and Red Fever, which book would you advise all children to read before they grow up?
CC: There are two really — the first one is Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, which is not only a gripping good adventure but also is hilariously funny — what a fantastic character Mr Toad is! The other one is Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson — a great adventure too but much darker and scarier. I re-read it every few years as it too goes all over Scotland and many Scottish readers will know the places described.
Q: If you had to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, what three things would you like to have with you and why?
CC: Firstly I would like to have my family with me – does that count? Not just for the obvious reasons such as I would miss them if not, but also because each of them has some wonderful talents which would be necessary to survive in this apocalyptic world. My husband is a mountaineer in his spare time and so would be great at taking us safely over mountains when we had to escape any bad men, and he can read a map! My son is a Queen’s Scout so he would be good at making fires and building shelters! And my daughter is fab at organising things and she would be great at keeping the supplies in and making sure we had enough food and fuel. Apart from them I would like to have an endless supply of paper and pens so that I could fill the time with writing even though there would be nobody left to read it! And lastly — could I have a warehouse full of thermal undies — it would be very cold in Scotland without electricity!
Q: If you had to invite three famous pirates to dinner (real or fictional) who would you choose and why?
Definitely Captain Jack Sparrow — not only is he very cute but he is very funny and I think he would liven things up as long as he didn’t drink too much rum and fall asleep! Captain Pugwash — he was always my favourite pirate on the TV when I was young. He always seems to get into terrible scrapes and still be very funny! Captain Bluebeard — he sounds like a horrible man but maybe he has just had bad press? He’d be very interesting at least as he had travelled all over the world and been in lots of dangerous situations. And if we didn’t like him we could always make him walk the plank!