When I was 12 and suffering Harry Potter withdrawal, my mom bought me a book called Magyk by Angie Sage. It took me quite a while to pick up the book, but when I finally did, I really loved it. Septimus Heap books are ones that defies all labels: it’s for children, but has accumulated teen and adult fans; it’s first labelled as fantasy, but crosses over into a science fiction; it’s about adventure and family, darkness and light, loyalty and royalty, and everything in between. It’s a genre-crossing, magical masterpiece. This month we are celebrating the release of the final book in the series.
When I first began blogging, I never thought I would correspond with my favorite childhood author. I didn’t think she would respond to my emails, or that one day she would send me a package full of signed book marks and more for Christmas. It has been wonderful to write for Ms. Sage and help promote her books, and even read and review copies before official release. Today’s post is an interview with Angie Sage to celebrate that her final Septimus book was released on October 11th. Enjoy the interview, and more importantly, the Septimus Heap books.
1. How do you feel now that your journey in the Septimus Heap world is coming to a close with the release of StarChaser? Do you plan to continue with any more writings in the Septimus Heap world?
Angie: It is a strange feeling not to be immersed in a Septimus book after all these years! But I do think that the whole Septimus world is going to be with me forever—there is still so much more to find out about. One of the reasons I wanted to write the TodHunter Moon trilogy was to explore that world further afield. The Ancient Ways were a great way of doing this and once again the landscape scrolled out before me rather like it does for Tod in StarChaser … I do I still want to be with the characters in Septimus Heap, which is why I’m now writing about Marcia, her childhood and her Apprentice years. If that works out I’ll move on to other characters and incidents. There is Nicko’s voyage to find Snorri to explore and Septimus’s late teenage years too. So many good things!
2. Do you have any new or upcoming projects after Septimus?
Angie: I’m working on two new things at the moment: an interesting and mysterious project concerning dragons and something rather exciting: a stand-alone novel with a sci-fi twist called Maximillian Fly—in which the main character is not entirely human.
3. What is your favorite memory or scene from the Septimus books?
Angie: I do always love the scenes between Marcia and Septimus and there have been so many really touching and funny ones to write. Oddly though, one of the scenes I remember affecting me a lot was when everything was going wrong for Beetle. He was staying with Foxy, and he’d burnt the soup. Then in comes Foxy telling Beetle that he had been Picked to be Chief Hermetic Scribe. It was just one of those moments and I always feel happy and a little emotional when I read that one. Of course the other big scene for me (although I realise that we don’t actually see it) is Marcia hiding baby Jenna in the snow—for me that is where it all began.
4. When you were a teenager, did you know you wanted to be an author? If not, what did you want to be when you were younger?
Angie: I didn’t ever dream I could be a writer. It seemed an impossible thing—I had quite enough trouble writing essays (which I loathed). But I did adore reading and was never without a book, so I suppose over the years the idea of writing began to seem less improbable.
When I was young what I really wanted was to be a doctor. I very nearly did go to medical school in fact, but all sorts of stuff happened and at the very last minute I decided not to.
5. Septimus Heap has been enjoyed by readers of every age. How do you make your writing style so versatile for all ages?
Angie: I really am so happy that Septimus Heap is enjoyed by all ages; it is what I had hoped for. I think it is because I don’t consciously write ‘for children’—I write for people. Children are not so very different from adults really. Of course there are some things that, as children, we don’t yet know about, but our emotions are just the same and we all love to read good stories about interesting people at any age. And that is what I have tried to do with the Septimus series: to make it a good story about interesting people. I don’t ‘dumb down’ any words or concepts and I don’t censor anything—apart from the occasional rude word (I think Simon would have sworn a bit if I’d allowed it. Also the teenage Septimus.). I know there are some things that only older readers will pick up on, but I don’t think it reduces the enjoyment for the younger readers. I’ve heard from people who read the books a second time in their late teens or early twenties that they find new layers—and jokes—in them, which I am so pleased about!
So, really I just write for human beings of all ages (the oldest reader I know of was 85) and I take care to make sure that I write nothing that will disturb the younger ones.
6. What is the one message or theme you want Septimus readers to take with them after the series ends?
Angie: Hope. Just keep going, be yourself, and don’t give up. As Marcia says, “things have a habit of working out … eventually.”
And if I am allowed two messages … It is never too late to make things right—just take a look at Simon.
7. What is one message or theme you’ve personally taken from the series?
Angie: Never think you know someone so well that you can predict what they will do—they will always surprise you. And sometimes, you will even surprise yourself.
Thank you so much for reading the interview! Finally, a huge thanks to Angie Sage for being such a lovely and wonderful author, friend, and human being.