(being German I'm hesitating to call you "Neil" without knowing you at all)
having read Coraline it somehow reminds me of the German children's book "Krabat" by Ottfried Preussler, a very famous book over here, based on an old, creepy tale from a part of old Germany which now is Poland.
Don't get me wrong: the setting is very different, the characters are different either, Coraline is definitely it's own story and no rip-off - but it's that kind of creepy house with creepy woman killing kids story - like "H�nsel und Gretel" - which reminded me of "Krabat".
The question: have you ever heard of that story? Is it available in English at all? Have you had any other stories in mind - besides the Grimm fairytale - when you wrote Coraline? Could you name them?
Best regards and thanks for the good work.
P.S.: Krabat has very special ravens inside, so you might want to read the story if you haven't heard of it before.
No, I'd never heard of it. Just did an Amazon lookup, which tells me that the title of the book in English is The Satanic Mill, and that, while it's out of print I can get a copy for only $388.00. The reviews make it look terrific, but I'm not sure about the price...
Bookfinder.com lists dozens of sensibly-priced second-hand copies, along with, oddly enough, a link back to Amazon, where there is a page listing an in-print hardback edition, which I missed before.
And it's translated by Anthea Bell, who translated the Asterix books. Right. WIll report back...