Sofie tells us about the genesis of the book and what writing it means to her.
I remember sharing the idea for The Song of Lewis Carmichael with my husband when we were on a holiday together about five years ago. I told Marc all about a boy who travels by hot air balloon to the ice, to find a lost baby.
I described the pictures I saw in my mind: a flock of snow geese carrying a balloon, polar bears thundering across the ice, a cave of dangerous Arctic wolves, the antlers of reindeer resembling the branches of trees. We discussed the possibility of Marc doing the illustrations for this story set in the snow. I was really excited and I began to write it when we returned from our holiday.
I can’t remember exactly how much I wrote, before another book for adults took over! But the story never quite left me alone, and as soon as there was space, I began the story again, in earnest. I was determined to complete it, before more demands were made on me with other books.
It was a real pleasure to escape to The Arctic each time I wrote. I needed ice! I needed polar bears, walruses and Snowy Owls. The more I researched The Arctic the more excited I became. The North Pole is always moving!
As far as why I wrote a book for children again after so many years – well, the story was there, asking to be told.
I just followed the feeling in me. I didn’t ask if the story was for younger readers or older readers, I just knew I wanted to spend time with a crow who could speak, and a boy who needed a friend.
It was exhilarating. It was also a very emotional journey. I felt Matthew’s pain quiet acutely. And I loved the friendship that he developed with Lewis. It meant the world to me, and still does.
September 13, 2021 at 12:35AM Anastasia Gonis