The news that Flyaway is on the shortlist for Children’s Section of the Costa Book Awards has just been announced. It’s tremendously exciting.
Flyaway is such a special book to me. It’s taken me years to get it right, and, more than anything I’ve ever done this book taught me how to write. I have written this book in third person, first person, present tense, past tense, from a boy’s perspective and from a girl’s perspective. It was even a fantasy novel at one point!
When I got the idea for the book I was sick in bed, and I was thinking about the similarity between the images of long term illness and the migration of wild swans. I kept thinking about images of whiteness and coldness, images of unease and hope. A migration is a little like a long term illness – in both you don’t know if you’re going to get to the other side, or how you’re going to make it….both of them require a large dose of hope (which Emily Dickinson once called ‘that thing with feathers’).
And Flyaway is about hope essentially … hope and love and finding your flock around you. Plus, it’s dedicated to my grandparents. My Grandfather is currently very sick with cancer, and it’s a blessing that he gets to hear this news before he flies off himself.
The other (really really good!) books on the shortlist are:
Annexed by Sharon Dogar (an ex-Chicken House author whom I have shared many a Chicken House event with!)
Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace (Really can’t wait to read this one. It’s set in Zimbabwe for one thing, and Jason is lovely)
Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud (What an exciting book!)
Sending cheer and cheesecake,