For book two of the series I wanted just as much magic, mystery and general mayhem as in Book one. Because each of the books is set in a different season, it was clear this would be the Springtime, with the Wood around Wintercombe slowly coming alive after the frozen winter of Venn's grief.
Also, as each of the books has a Shakespearean theme threaded secretly among its pages, I decided to use Macbeth here, because I like the idea of the three strange witches who prophesy a future that then has to be created by the main character- or would it happen anyway? Also in this play is the great scene where the Wood of Burnham walks- or so Macbeth believes. The whole idea of walking trees has always fascinated me. There is an ancient and very garbled Welsh poem called Cad Goddeu- The Battle of the Trees- it has a very eerie quality and certainly Tolkien must have had the same thing somewhere in mind when he created the Ents..
For avoice set in the past I developed a daughter for the Victorian John Harcourt Symmes- it was huge fun to write the sections of Alicia's diary because she is such a determined, if slightly crazy lady. Seances and mediums were huge in Edwardian London, so her use of the Mirror to see ghosts seemed perfect. And of course it was a great way to get Janus to appear there.
In this book I wanted Venn to become more and more dangerously involved with Summer. As the year turns her power grows and his declines. Maskelyne begins to use more of his secret magic, and Wharton, and Piers, as always, were a great double act to develop.
And Sarah? Sarah in this book begins to understand that if Venn ever succeeds, the course of the terrible future will be set. And only she is prepared to do anything about that. Sarah is the only one who has seen Janus's End Time and she feels she would do anything to stop that from happening.
The final section of the book is set briefly in Renaissance Florence, a city which I love and which has a fascinating history. But to be there like Jake and David, in a time of plague? Terrifying! Maybe that danger shows us how different the past really is...