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Isobelle Carmody

Courtesy of the author

I am very fortunate in that I have spent pretty much my whole life being a writer, and before I was a writer, I was a storyteller.

By that, I mean I told stories to my seven younger brothers and sisters. My dad had died in a car crash when I was fourteen and my mum worked in the evenings, so I was left to look after all of these wild children for whose antics I would be ultimately responsible. I had no particular means of entertaining them because my family did not buy books and we had neither television nor radio. So I made up stories and the main point of the stories was to rivet my audience so that they would not even think of getting up to mischief. Naturally the stories always had a thrilling scary thread, as well as delving into some sort of moral or ethical question. I have never forgotten the almost mystical power over an audience a storyteller has, when the story is deep and links you.

I wrote my first full book when I was fourteen and that was Obernewtyn. It was also the first book I had published. It was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to and it was short listed for Children’s Book of the Year in the older readers category in Australia. It is set in the future when most of the world is radioactive black wastelands, and the main character is a prickly young woman who is a loner with forbidden powers. I wrote that book not because I wanted to escape the real world, but because I wanted to think about certain aspects of the real world that troubled me.

If you look at the body of any writers’ work, you can figure out the questions that animate them. I think that is what real writers do. They don’t tell people how to live or what to think. They write in order to try to answer their own deepest questions. The question at the heart of all my books and stories, from Obernewtyn onward, is: Why do people do the things they do–the terrible things and the wonderful things? What makes a person grow up to be Martin Luther King or Mother Teresa instead of Hitler or Lizzie Borden?

That huge question is as much at the core of Little Fur: The Legend Begins as it was, over twenty books ago, at the core of Obernewtyn. In Little Fur, we see humanity from the outside, through the eyes of a little elf troll who lives in a forest hidden in the heart of a great sprawling, decadent human city. Little Fur is also a delicious revisiting of my storyteller past because it began as a told story.

I even remember the moment that story began to be told.

I was living in Prague, as I do part of the time, and there had been a terrible hundred-year flood. It was summer and the floodwaters were receding and the whole city had this pervasive spicy, rotten-upholstery reek. Most of the old town with its tiny labyrinthine cobbled streets and beautiful battered old buildings had been evacuated and was still blacked out. Water was being pumped from deep basements that had once been ground floor rooms, but which over the centuries had ended up being lower than the ever-rising street level. Immense piles of rubbish and hundred-year-old junk was piled head height outside most buildings, and when you passed through the dense spicy darkness at night, you would be aware of street people picking over the piles. The city was like an egg that had been cracked open to reveal what lay behind and under it, and I was fascinated. One day I was walking with my little girl, and she saw a glimmer of dark greasy water through a ground-level window. “What lives down there, Mama?” she asked in that delicious half fearful, half thrilled voice. And the slumbering fourteen-year-old storyteller roused and said in a sepulchral voice, “Trolls. Trolls live in the cracks and crannies of the city, and they only come out at night. . . .”

That was literally the beginning of Little Fur. It had been one of the sheerest pleasures of my life to write her story and illustrate it.


Author Bookshelf

Alyzon Whitestarr

By: Isobelle Carmody

Are Alyzon’s new abilities a blessing . . . or a curse?

Alyzon Whitestarr doesn't take after her musically talented father or her nocturnal, artistic mother. In fact, she’s the most normal member of a very eccentric...

Ashling

By: Isobelle Carmody

As head of Obernewtyn’s Farseeker guild, Elspeth Gordie must travel to the lowlands to seal an alliance between Obernewtyn and the rebel forces that oppose the totalitarian Council. Yet her dreams...

Little Fur #1: The Legend Begins

By: Isobelle Carmody

Who is Little Fur? Why, she's a half elf, half troll, as tall as a three-year-old human child, with slanted green eyes, wild red hair that brambles about her pointed ears, and bare, broad, four-toed feet....


Little Fur #2: A Fox Called Sorrow

By: Isobelle Carmody

In a fox called Sorrow, the adventures continue for Little Fur. When Little Fur discovers that the Troll king is plotting against the Earth Spirit that binds all living things, she sets off on a new quest...

Little Fur #3: A Mystery of Wolves

By: Isobelle Carmody

“Even the smallest heroine can make a difference.”—School Library Journal

Little Fur goes in search of her friend, Ginger the cat, who has failed to return to the hidden grove they call...

Little Fur #4: Riddle of Green

By: Isobelle Carmody

The conclusion of the Little Fur quartet!

When Little Fur loses touch with the flow of earth magic, she knows that she must regain it, whatever it takes. A visit to the prophetic Sett Owl makes it clear that Little...


Night Gate

By: Isobelle Carmody

Rage Winnoway’s closest friends have always been her four dogs: Bear, Billy Thunder, Elle, and Mr. Walker. When Rage sets off for the hospital where her mother lies in a coma, the dogs and the neighbor’s...

Obernewtyn

By: Isobelle Carmody

In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. And for Elspeth Gordie, it is also dangerous. That's because Elspeth has a secret: she is a Misfit, born with mysterious mental abilities...

The Farseekers

By: Isobelle Carmody

in the two years since its takeover of Obernewtyn, the secret community of Misfits has flourished. Protected by their remoteness, Elspeth Gordie and her allies have worked hard to develop their forbidden...


The Keeping Place

By: Isobelle Carmody

When a Misfit is kidnapped, Elspeth finds she has little choice but to join the growing rebellion against the Council. Her extraordinary mental powers could tip the scales of the struggle, but Elspeth...

The Obernewtyn Chronicles #8: The Waking Dragon

By: Isobelle Carmody

The eighth book in the epic series the Obernewtyn Chronicles is full of romance, action, and suspense. Fans of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series will rejoice to see such a breathtakingly elaborate YA fantasy...

The Obernewtyn Chronicles #7: The Sending

By: Isobelle Carmody

Once shunned as a Misfit for the powers that set her apart, Elspeth Gordie has finally found happiness and love. But when she receives the long-awaited summons to begin her final quest, she must slip out in the night...


The Stone Key

By: Isobelle Carmody

Friend becomes foe and trust is a thing of the past when the Misfits’ most relentless enemy turns Elspeth’s world upside down. Through coercion and mind control, Ariel stands on the cusp of...

Wavesong

By: Isobelle Carmody

With the end of the wintertime that isolates Obernewtyn from the rest of the world, Farseeker guildmistress Elspeth Gordie again sets out for the lowlands. But she soon finds that not everyone welcomes...

Winter Door

By: Isobelle Carmody

In the midst of the worst winter on record, Rage is beset with worry. Her mother still hasn’t fully recovered from her car accident despite Rage’s successful quest for healing magic. Her stoic uncle seems...


The Seeker

By: Isobelle Carmody

New from acclaimed fantasy author Isobelle Carmody comes The Seeker, an omnibus edition of the first two books in the dystopian fantasy the Obernewtyn Chronicles—Obernewtyn and The Farseekers!

Discover...

The Rebellion

By: Isobelle Carmody

The adventure continues with acclaimed fantasy author Isobelle Carmody's The Rebellion, an omnibus edition of books three and four in the dystopian fantasy the Obernewtyn Chronicles—Ashling and The Keeping...

The Dreamtrails

By: Isobelle Carmody

The adventure continues with acclaimed fantasy author Isobelle Carmody's The Dreamtrails, an omnibus edition of books five and six in the dystopian fantasy the Obernewtyn Chronicles—Wavesong and The Stone...