independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Fiona's new book to again be a favourite

A WICKLOW-born children's author is causing quite a stir at the moment on the children's books scene across Ireland and the UK.Fiona Higgins (neé Scott), who writes as F.E Higgins, is being tipped as the new JK Rowling, whose Harry Potter books have dominated the children's book world.

A WICKLOW-born children's author is causing quite a stir at the moment on the children's books scene across Ireland and the UK.

Fiona Higgins (neé Scott), who writes as F.E Higgins, is being tipped as the new JK Rowling, whose Harry Potter books have dominated the children's book world.

And while she finds comparisons with Rowling very flattering' Fiona is keen to point out that her second book The Bone Magician' is like her first book, The Black Book of Secrets', a world away' from Harry Potter.

'I guess reviewers of the book make the comparison with Rowling because of the magical' and fantastical' elements to my writing.

But every writer is different and just as JK Rowling has her style, I also have mine.

The Bone Magician is not a sequel to my first book but a paraquel' meaning the events take place at the same time as those which happened in the first book.'

Her latest book has also drawn comparisons to the work of Enid Blyton.

The London Times describe Fiona's work as gifted.'

Atmosphere is a crucial ingredient to any book, but that magical feeling which all good children's fiction conveys is a gift bestowed.

Just as Enid Blyton's work demonstrates, when you find such writings it's gold dust and F.E Higgins is proving herself to be a striking new voice.'

Comparisons to Enid Blyton are the accolades Fiona is most delighted about.

I grew up reading Enid Blyton and spend much of my childhood immersed in her writings.

To be compared to her work is fantastic as she was one of my earliest influences, until I developed a fascination for horror stories at 11 years old!

Then I took my Enid Blyton books to the second-hand shop down by the river in Wicklow and swapped them for horror-style books.

Many readers and reviewers think it is horror-style influences which feature in my writings.

In fact I can't bear to watch horror films now or read that genre of writing.

It was a short phase in my life, which passed as I got older.'

Fiona explained how her work is in fact influenced by many different factors.

I read a lot of historical writings and trivia books.

There are elements of Dickens and Victorian England, which I find fascinating but also elements of my Irish upbringing, which Irish readers may pick up on.

The Béag Hickory leprechaun character in my book comes out with phrases like Nil aon tintean, mar do thinteain fein.'

And I guess people see things that I must subconsciously have written of from my past such as as religious influences, Catholic guilt and confession, which is what makes every writer unique I suppose.'

Fiona is the daughter of Bill and Pat Scott who still reside in Wicklow, while her home is in rural Kent, England.

She attended the Holy Rosary National School and obtained her second-level education at Dominican College, Wicklow.

Teacher training in Carysfort in Blackrock led her to a move in the UK, where she has been based for the past 20 years.

The Bone Magician is published by Macmillan Children's Books and available at most leading bookstores priced ?10.99.

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