'Mildred was only six when she met Death, but she wasn’t afraid.
'He looked nothing like the pictures. He wasn’t a skeleton in a dark robe or a gaunt figure wielding a shining silver pennant (she hadn’t yet learned the word scythe). Instead he wore a ragged but serviceable coat and carried a leather briefcase, and looked a little bit like her father and grandfather and Mr Makras, the lion-voiced librarian at her school, all rolled into one. If Mildred had ever known her mother, Death might have looked a little something like her too.' (Publication abstract)
'What happened to the ship wasn’t my fault. At least, I don’t think that it was. Things like that are hard to work out in the moment.
'My last clear memory is of working on the exterior, the humans crowded safely inside. They always felt so distant, locked down in the dark with the warmth and oxygen. It was better, out on the hull. Moving quickly and gracefully, all six limbs planting temporary rivets and pulling me along. It’s what I was made for. The humans were shouting at me to move faster, to fix the damage. I didn’t know what had gone wrong with the ship, but that was okay. Fixing things is what I do. They were insulting me, their voices high and thin with panic. So fragile and so strange. (Publication abstract)