The five books in the Stonewylde Series are the sum of my published work so far. I started the series (originally only to be one book) back in 2003 when I was teaching full time, and self-published the first three books in 2005 to 2007. They proved to be so successful that in 2010, I sold the rights to the complete series to Orion Books. The five books have now been published under their Gollancz imprint, and all are available in paperback and e-book.
Stonewylde is high concept popular fiction, written for young adults but with huge crossover appeal, meaning that adults of all ages enjoy the books. The online description for the first book in the series, Magus of Stonewylde, gives a taste of the complete series:
“How far would you go to save your child?
Exhausted single-mum Miranda is prepared to try anything. Suffering from baffling allergies and illnesses, her teenage daughter Sylvie has been written off by doctors. An offer of alternative therapy at a grand Dorset estate may be her last hope and so, against her better judgement, Miranda grabs this life-line.
Stonewylde is a beautiful and magical place, a sanctuary free from modern taint. The retreat is remote, hidden away behind high walls and iron gates, and soon the rat-race outside fades to insignificance. Stonewylde is ruled by the charismatic Magus, who vows to cure Sylvie and give to both their hearts’ desires. He promises the earth and it seems he can deliver.
But everything comes at a price. Life at Stonewylde is too idyllic, too wholesome, too perfect. The ancient rituals in the stone circle are not quite what they seem and neither is the Magus, whose sinister sensuality hides a darker secret. Sylvie and Miranda join the community and both fall in love for the first time. But their arrival triggers a brutal chain of events that could destroy the unique world of Stonewylde.
Mother and daughter will eventually discover the truth: Stonewylde may cure, but it can also kill.”
A book-seller once described Stonewylde as “Wuthering Heights meets Wicker Man” and that seems as good a description as any. The story is set in a contemporary alternative community in Dorset, and this unusual setting has gained the series a strong cult following. I’ve been featured in several national magazines such as Woman & Home, Best and SFX, and have been a guest speaker at many conferences and literary events, where audiences seem to find the unique concept of Stonewylde fascinating.
Waterstones book stores tend to place the series in their teenage section, despite the fact that most readers are adult. There are many branches where the staff have really taken Stonewylde to heart; it’s great visiting for book signing events, and always lovely to meet readers and fans.
Orion have published the five books in fairly rapid succession, resulting in visits to many book shops far and wide to promote the series. The huge age-range of readers always surprises me, as does the fact that so many men enjoy Stonewylde. The series could be classified as romance as there’s a beautiful love story at its heart – but male readers are usually quick to disagree with this.
What most people seem to say about Stonewylde is that it’s different – and that it’s changed their outlook on the world. This was never my intent when writing the books, but it’s exciting to hear, nevertheless.
Many readers say that Stonewylde has taken them to a different place altogether, enabling them to forget about mundane reality. It’s the type of story that draws you into its world, and this is a world where nature is all-important, where people respect the land and the unseen forces that govern our lives.
The series is not fantasy, although fantasy fans would recognise some elements. There’s a circle of standing stones and an ancient village green, a beautiful stately home and a quarry where blood has been spilled far too often. Stonewylde is very dark in places, but ultimately an uplifting experience, and certainly one that will linger.
Stonewylde has its own website here, where you can read reviews and find out more about the concept behind the books. There’s also fan merchandise for sale – greetings cards, T-shirts, bookmarks and pens. Please note that Stonewylde is a registered trademark and unauthorised use of the name or logo is not permitted.
If you enjoy reading e-books, Orion have published a Stonewylde omnibus at a discounted price, so you can buy all five volumes at once. If reading the books individually, please start with the first book in the series, Magus of Stonewylde.
The film and audio rights are still owned by Moongazy Publishing Ltd, our own publishing company, so watch this space for developments!