Now that the whirling debut dust has settled, Tamsin Mori talks to Words & Pictures magazine about some of the things she's learnt since she was published.

What a whirlwind of a year it’s been! Nothing like I’d pictured; nothing like any of us pictured, I suspect. My first book, The Weather Weaver, came out on World Book Day, in lockdown. By the time it came out, I was already working on the second book in the trilogy, but for about three weeks, I lived in the virtual world.


The Weather Weaver and its sequel, A Gathering Storm.

When the initial excitement of launch had simmered down, I was left pinching myself. Had I made it all up? I tried to get back into editing, but was distracted – gripped by a strange sense of unreality. The moment lockdown lifted, my first destination was a bookshop. Seeing The Weather Weaver in a bookshop, almost a month later, was when it really sank in. I was a published author! The thrill hasn’t dimmed as the months have gone on. Every time I see my book in a bookshop, or a library, or in a school, I get the urge to do a silly dance of excitement and point at it: Look! It’s real!


Kenilworth Books window.

In the months that followed the launch, I ‘visited’ schools and libraries up and down the country and learnt all sorts of technical skills I’d never anticipated needing as an author: lighting, sound levels, video editing, a multitude of online platforms. Microsoft Teams was a challenge, because the children had been using my laptop for home-school lessons. Every time I tried to log in as myself, it wanted to catapult me into their school system. Top tip: exactly like real-world events, if you’re doing any kind of online visit, make sure there’s a brief tech check beforehand!

Tamsin's video corner at home.

By early summer, I was well into editing book 2. The series is set in Shetland, where many of my happiest early adventures took place. Thanks to my Shetland Granny’s stories, I’ve always felt it’s a landscape brimming with myths and magic. As a child, I had an unaccustomed amount of freedom there – plenty of opportunities to explore. The Weather Weaver grew out of those myths and memories, so it couldn’t have been set anywhere else – the setting is at the heart of the story.

 Editing hideaway: the bothy on Bressay.

I travelled up to Shetland, staying with family on Bressay. It’s the ideal place to edit: perfect peace and a wealth of inspiration right outside the door. I took time out to visit the Mousa broch again (it’s a real place). I also travelled to Yell, to scout a famously spooky location: Wind House. It lives up to its reputation. I was glad not to be spending the night…

 Mousa broch.

Writing the second book was considerably easier than writing the first. It helped that it’s a sequel – the characters feel like friends and the world is completely familiar to me. My publisher, UCLan, paired me with Tilda Johnson, the same editor I’d had for the first book. That was hugely helpful, because she knew the characters and the story inside out. I trust her feedback and she’s helped me unknot a number of tangles in the storyline!

 Serious book 2 plotting.

Given that there’s a far wider cast of characters in A Gathering Storm, I also asked for a sensitivity read and UCLan agreed. It was immensely helpful to be able to borrow someone else’s eyes for a while – the sensitivity reader spotted things that wouldn’t have occurred to me. I made all the suggested changes and the story is better for it.


My biggest support throughout my debut year has been The Good Ship 2021ish – a big group of authors who all debuted in approximately the same year. With rapidly shifting release dates during lockdown, not all our books came out in 2021, but near enough. We share highs and lows and it’s a treasure trove of great advice. There’s usually a new debuts group every year, so if your first book is coming out soon, do seek out the 2022 group. On the whole, the writing community is one of the best places to be on Twitter. I’ve made all sorts of lovely connections with other writers, indie booksellers, librarians and teachers, many of whom I’ve now met in the real world, too.

School visit at Waterfield Academy.  


For book 3 in the series (untitled, as yet), I was aiming to have a solid first draft completed before book 2 came out. I nearly managed it, but then Covid intervened. It’s almost there – I have a full draft, but it definitely needs a polish before I share it with the publisher. On the upside, my immune system must be second to none, now! I felt pretty confident heading out into schools to celebrate the launch of book 2 in the series.

 A Gathering Storm book cake.

A Gathering Storm was published on World Book Day 2022 and I spent a week visiting schools and libraries. What a joy, being able to take part in real life school visits! It’s so different from visiting via a screen, where cameras are often turned off and it’s hard to gauge reactions in the moment. Standing in front of a big group of excited young readers is a true delight.

Orpington library with Jenny Hawke.

My best advice on school visits is:


  • Plan your content in chunks, so that if there are any interruptions or events of different length, you can easily make it longer or shorter.
  • Ask questions! Nobody likes being talked at for up to an hour and children are full of their own bright ideas and stories. Make space for them to join in and the time will fly.
  • Have fun!
  • It feels like a huge privilege, being given license to talk, play, create and spark new ideas. I am loving this new phase of my debut journey and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

*Header illustration by Shannon Ell. All other pictures courtesy of Tamsin Mori.


Tamsin Mori writes middle grade books, steeped in myths and magic, but firmly rooted in the real world. Her debut novel, The Weather Weaver, was published by UCLan in early 2021. The story captured the imagination of readers, librarians, teachers and booksellers, providing a welcome dose of escapism, adventure and joy. It recently won the Dudley Children’s Book Award, which is voted for by young readers and champions reading for pleasure. The second book in the Weather Weaver series, A Gathering Storm, came out in March this year and there is a third book already in the works.
Website: Twitter: @MoriTamsin Instagram: @Tamsinmori

Shannon Ell is a non-binary illustrator, animator and designer based in Edinburgh. 
Website: Instagram:@shannon.illustrates

Fran Price is Deputy Editor of Words & Pictures magazine. Contact her at

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