Sia in Ancient Rome: Frances Watts on The Raven’s Wing

Love. Intrigue. Ancient Rome. If you can imagine needing anything more in a story than these three ingredients, we’d like to hear from you.

Frances Watts is one cool writer. This is her first YA novel but she’s already a successful and award-winning author of many gorgeous picture books and awesome middle grade series that feature everything from swordfighting to rebellious mice siblings.



What was your favourite scene to write of The Raven’s Wing?

I really enjoyed writing the scene where Claudia first meets Marcus—and trips and falls into the fishpond. It’s one of those moments when you’re feeling pretty great and then totally embarrass yourself. (And who hasn’t had those moments?!)

Not me… [mentally flashes back to tripping up the internal office staircase]. So anyway, this is your first venture into the world of YA – how are you finding it so far?

Fun! (You know, I think this might be my first book ever without a talking animal…)

Were there particular songs you listened to while you were writing?

It took me a year to write the book, so I went through a few different stages. I started out all optimistic with The Black Keys’ El Camino, then slowed down through the difficult middle period with a gorgeous old Wilco album called Summerteeth, then finished all feisty and powerful with Beyoncé’s Beyoncé.

If The Raven’s Wing were made into a movie or TV show, who could you see playing the main characters?

I can definitely see Emma Watson as Claudia. Maybe Keegan Allen for Lucius (he’s got the eyes!). Alex Pettyfer could do a great smouldering Marcus (but he’d have to dye his hair black).

*Fans self, decides this answer needs visual aids*


Behold my eyes! My Lucius-appropriate eyes!


*Smoulder, smoulder, smoulder*

Do you have any quirky writing rituals?

Does banging my head on the keyboard and moaning ‘This is so hard’ count?


If you could choose any character from pop culture to make a cameo in the world of The Raven’s Wing, who would you choose?

Actually, I’d love to have someone really unexpected perform at Aurelia and Lucius’s engagement party. Like Sia. Sia in Ancient Rome—I like it!

What’s one book you love that you always recommend to people?

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Cassandra Mortmain: Best. Character. Ever.


If you could holiday in a fictional world of your choice, which world would you pick?

I’d like to holiday in a book by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. First: because New York. Second: those people? (Nick and Norah, Dash and Lily, Naomi and Ely) They’re my people.

What are you reading at the moment?

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler—and I know from the title that it doesn’t end well!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as a writer?

‘Stop banging your head on the keyboard and start typing.’

Follow Frances on Facebook here. The Raven’s Wing is out now. Add it to your Goodreads TBR