Writing about a unicorn this morning for Book 4 of The Portland Chronicles, The Island Giant, I have been thinking a great deal about Alan Garner and Elidor. I was very influenced by his stories, which I started reading when I was about 7 years old. I believe Elidor was published in the year that I was born, 1965. I loved the way that a fantasy world was juxtaposed against the real gritty life of a Northern city, and it felt very real to me. I remember the experience of being underground in the tunnels of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, as if I had been really there. For me, these stories marked a transition in reading, where I started to live in the world inhabited by characters and identified closely with them. The novel was a journey I took with these characters, turning the pages not just to find out what happened next, but also to stay in that world with them.