Search Results: Ele Fountain

You are browsing the search results for ele fountain

Lost by Ele Fountain

Lola’s life is about to become unrecognisable. So is Lola.

Everything used to be comfortable. She lived in a big house with her family, where her biggest problems were arguing with her little brother or being told she couldn’t have a new phone. But as one disaster follows another, the threads of her home and family begin to unravel.

Cut off from everything she has known before, Lola must find a new way to survive.

Now, an ordinary girl must become extraordinary.

Pushkin Press

What inspired the setting for LOST?

The idea of a few misfortunes leading to the loss of something as elemental as your home seems like a far-fetched reality for most of us. The reality for millions of children is that they never had one in the first place. I wanted to write a story with a thread to tie these two realities together.

Did you consider writing it from more than one POV or was Lola always the narrator?

I wanted to stay with Lola’s POV throughout to highlight the contrast between where she had come from and where she ended up, and her sense of helplessness as events gathered speed.

Did you always have the end in mind or did it change as you got to know the characters?

I always had the end in mind, but of course stories evolve during writing; some of my favourite journeys have been those which end up in a slightly different place than originally intended! The only significant change is that the final ending is happier than in my first draft.

As an editor, what kind of stories do you most enjoy working on?

What I love most is the element of surprise when a new manuscript arrives – what will make it special? Wonderful books come in so many guises. A beautifully written page-turner will always be a winner for me, though.

What kind of author events do you prefer doing?

School events are one of the best things about being an author, and usually take you straight to the heart of a school: the library. My favourite events are those which allow time for a talk and then creative writing workshops afterwards. It seems a wonderful recipe for firing imaginations, and I am frequently astonished by the quality of the ideas the pupils come up with.

If young readers are appalled by the conditions Lola & Amit find themselves in, what would be the best first steps you’d suggest for making a difference to the lives of children in real life similar circumstances?

It’s a complex crisis with no single solution. Supporting rural communities to develop micro-industries of their own is one way to make them more attractive to younger generations, and provide jobs so that they don’t feel it’s essential to move to a big city. A more immediate way is to raise money for charities such as Save the Children, who provide relief for families during monsoon flooding and offer safe spaces for children with no home to go to.

What are you reading at the moment and who would you recommend it to?

I am currently reading Solo, an autobiography by the polar explorer Pen Haddow. I’ve also just finished Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy. My seven-year-old was reading it at the same time. When we talked about the book afterwards, my daughter said that she loved the ‘world’, and the fact that adults were included in the adventure, not just kids. I loved it too.

Can you give us a hint as to what you’re working on next?

See above (Solo by Pen Haddow). I’m not writing an autobiography about polar exploration, but there will definitely be some snow!

Ele Fountain (picture credit Debra Hurford-Brown)

Lost is published by Pushkin Press on 12th March 2020

Thank you for the review copy!

The Fountains of Silence

A haunting and romantic novel set in post-war Spain by Ruta Sepetys – winner of the Carnegie Medal 2017.

Madrid, 1957.

Daniel, young, wealthy and unsure of his place in the world, views the city through the lens of his camera.

Ana, a hotel maid whose family is suffering under the fascist dictatorship of General Franco.

Lives and hearts collide as they unite to uncover the hidden darkness within the city.

A darkness that could engulf them all . . .

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love and the hidden violence of silence.

Penguin

I was lucky enough to be invited to join a small Q&A session with Ruta Sepetys on zoom last month, to discuss her latest title THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE. It was an absolutely fascinating conversation between her and Carmen McCullough (editorial director at Puffin), followed by some questions from the invited bloggers. Do read all the other blogs to discover her answers to some really interesting questions about the research behind her writing as well as the writing itself and its reception.

Ruta talked about building narratives from what you know (and assume) about a person, and how important it is to give a voice to unheard stories to maybe change opinions and open up minds. It was amazing hearing about the lengths she went to in researching details to include that would immerse the readers in a sensory experience – to the extent that she owns a key to a room in the hotel that her American family stayed in, brochures they would have seen in the foyer, a spoon they would have used!

When it was my turn to ask some questions, mine weren’t really about FOUNTAINS at all (although it was relevant as it had recently been announced that it had been longlisted for this year’s Carnegie AND NOW SHORTLISTED!!!), but rather about her experience being nominated for and winning the Carnegie medal:

On your website it says your “books have won or been shortlisted for over forty book prizes”, but the Carnegie is the only one specifically mentioned, why is the medal so special?

Ruta’s answer to this question blew me away:

One of the oldest, most enduring prizes that is recognised world-wide…When I began writing…many of the true witnesses would say “don’t bother, no one’s interested, the world has forgotten us”, and to be recognised on a longlist for an award like this…is restoring a bit of dignity to these people…The true survivors feel honoured by the award, and that is really powerful. It brings history out of the dark.

Is it just a nice thing to win an award, or do you think they are important for bigger reasons?

Ruta made some great points about the Carnegie promoting a culture of reading, being a reading community, and bringing people together around one story. Reading is a creative partnership between the author and the reader:

…the author provides the text and the reader brings the character to life, the setting, amplifies the emotion…walks by their side for 300pages feeling their fear…Awards acknowledge that empathy, I think that’s the most important part.

Thank you so much to Ruta for the really thoughtful answers.

THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE is out in paperback now!