Michelle Paver is best known as the author of the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. She currently lives in Wimbledon in south London, but was born in Malawi before moving to England at three years old. She obtained a biochemistry degree from the University of Oxford and then started work at a London law firm. Later she gave this up in order to write full time.
The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series was born though her fascination with wolves as a child, probably due to the fact that her parents had a large German shepherd when she was younger. Michelle recalls asking her parents for a pet wolf and ending up with a spaniel instead (who became a wolf in her imagination).
Her research for the novels took her to northern Finland and Sweden where they are set, in order to learn about the seasons and the native flora and fauna of the time. The actual topography described in the books is fictional however. While there, she rode three-hundred miles through the forest of northern Finland, slept on reindeer skins and ate many recipes that would have been used thousands of years ago, including eating raw seal liver and whale blubber. She even spent time at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust to bond with some of the wolves there. While the religious beliefs of people from six-thousand years ago are long lost, Michelle had done her best to invent them using the beliefs of modern hunter-gatherers e.g. making offerings to spirits and requiring tools for the journey after death.
As well as being wolf-obsessed, Michelle was also interested in the Stone Age as a child and even tried to skin a dead rabbit herself. These fascinations never left her, and as London is not the best place to own a wolf, she lives out her adventures through her writing instead. She has always had a flair for writing and wrote her first story aged five. She writes as though Torak (the main character) were herself, although she admits, with a better sense of direction. All her writing is done on a twenty-one year-old computer with no Internet access and backs up her work on floppy disks. She still does her initial drafts by hand.