Sanctuary was written more recently than Free Gifts or Daisy’s Demons. Both of those stories come from the days when I was a full-time undergraduate student. By the time I wrote Sanctuary, I was a PhD student working part-time at my first real job – which, unsurprisingly, was (and in fact, still is) in a library.
I started working as a library assistant in 2008, at the university where I also study, Oxford Brookes. Part of my job is shelving. At 9am every morning, several of us full-time employees pitch in to help the shelvers (who are usually undergraduate students). The floor I usually work on has the medical and law books, and they’re absolutely huge. On top of that, the shelves where the law books are kept are unusually slippery, and the books have a habit of falling over no matter how hard you try to prop them up. After dodging a few giant tomes that had decided to fall off their shelves near where I was standing, I wondered what it would be like if the same thing happened all over the library. Combine that with some Dickensian foundlings, and I had the Shelver kids dealing with a floor-wide bookslide.
You might get to the end of Sanctuary and think that Anna and Benedict’s story isn’t over. You’d be right. Different as these three short stories are, they’re all connected, albeit very distantly. Free Gifts and Daisy’s Demons are set in the same village, where strange things continue to happen. Anna from Sanctuary turns up in the next story I’m publishing, although she’s no longer the tiny girl who’s so good at climbing.
Spider Circus is where things start to draw together. A teaser chapter goes up next Friday. Keep an eye out.