I’m not sure why the novel needed a raven, but like all the elements I’m writing about, I started from a position of near-total ignorance!  Ravens are the largest members of the Corvid family, some of the most intelligent birds around. 

I used some of my prize money to spend an afternoon with Grip and Luna at Lavenham Falconry  – two very different ravens, both full of personality.

Grip does not like the ground, and will hop up to anything that’s at least a foot clear of it.  Luna, on the other hand, fancies herself a gardener, and will neatly and methodically nip the heads off stray flowers in her patch of grass.  Luna was very possessive of her handler, making sure no-one else was between her and him.  

We tried out a few aspects of the plot while I was there.  Luna was very adept at catching scraps mid-air which was great!  Both birds enjoyed getting clean, bathing and preening themselves, and I was lucky enough to get a few stray feathers from Grip.  I’m going to try and use one as a quill once my ink is made.