What first inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always been fascinated by language but I never really thought of becoming an author. However, about twelve years ago I started to write fiction by accident and I fell madly in love with the craft.
What inspired you to write The Word-Keeper?
I wanted to write a story that celebrated and honoured words; a story that spoke about how forceful words can be when we use them. The main theme of the novel is exactly that: the power of language.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Create work that you are proud of. That’s what I try to do: write stories that I am proud of. I take the time to write and re-write my stories until they meet or exceed my own aesthetic and narrative standards.
What are some of your favourite books that you have read?
I usually say that that is a really difficult question because the answer would have been different had I answered it ten years ago or if I were to answer it in ten years time.
Today: the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones, The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell and The Book of Imaginary Being by Jorge Luis Borges.
How long did it take you to write The Word-Keeper?
From initial idea to having the first copy in my hands… about four years.
Who read, and gave you feedback on, the first draft of The Word-Keeper?
My husband and my brother. Later, I was very lucky to receive the feedback of authors Norma Clarke, James Miller and Adam Baron. I learned a lot from their brilliant insights, their wisdom and expertise.
Was it always your dream to become an author?
No, not really. My background is in communications with a focus on linguistics and semiotics, so my love for the nature of language, narrative and storytelling was always there. But it was a love for storytelling in any of its forms: a play, a poem, a symphony, a choreography, an art installation, a novel. All captivated me. I ended up discovering I wanted to become a writer, although I wouldn’t rule out exploring other forms of storytelling in the future.
How are your plans for your next book coming along?
My next book, titled The Book of Four Journeys, will be published at the end of May, 2021.
Throughout The Word-Keeper, many important issues are covered, such as the negativity of gossip magazines, and body image. Why did you feel that these were particularly important to write about in a children’s book?
I always knew the main theme of The Word-Keeper would be the power of words and language. But there were other secondary themes I wanted to explore such us the importance of dialogue, integrity and honesty, the relationship between knowledge and power, bullying and its consequences and the essence of true friendship.
In a sentence, how would you describe The Word-Keeper?
A story that seeks to answer the question: What would happen if words disappeared forever?
Thank you very much to Veronica del Valle for giving up her time for this interview!
I will be posting my review for The Word-Keeper in the next few days!
Thank you for reading this post.