Thursday, 24 April 2014

Sara Crowe chat

We sat down for a chat...with Sara Crowe

Sara Crowe's debut children’s novel, Bone Jack, is a compelling and atmospheric read about a teen boy who takes on something bigger and darker than just being the ‘stag’ in the local Stag Chase. Bone Jack shows great care and love for the land that we live on and pass through, and we asked her a few questions to explore this.

Author Sara Crowe
WSD: You tweeted that you've lived seven lives. Can you tell us a bit about these lives?

Sara Crowe: That was actually a reference to the seven incarnations of Eric and Merle in Marcus’s novel Midwinterblood. But in another way we all live many lives. There are the different stages of childhood and adulthood, the ghost lives we imagine we might have lived if we’d made a few different choices, our working lives, home lives, inner lives, the lives we live vicariously through reading, and many others.

I’ve loved my life on the road in the van most of all. Lying in bed at night listening to owls and foxes, walking out on to Uig Sands on Lewis at sunrise, getting blasted by bitter Siberian winds on the Kent coast, walking through woodland in the mist. We’ve visited so many beautiful places and met some extraordinary people, like the man who left his job and set off with his dog in a van to search for fabled lost treasures or the 88 year old Orcadian who sat beside me on a bench and told me all about the killer whales that visit Hoy Sound.     

WSD: For a van-dwelling vagabond, it seems a delightful paradox that your novel, Bone Jack, conjures up a strong and atmospheric connection to Ash (& Bone Jack's) land. Can you tell us a bit about your travelling and your connections (or disconnections) with land?

Sara Crowe: When you meet new people, one of the first questions they ask is ‘Where are you from?’ I’ve always struggled to answer because my parents moved around a lot when I was a child and I was brought up all over England. The characters in Bone Jack have deep roots in their landscape and in some ways I envy that sense of connection and belonging. But wayfarers also have relationships with the landscapes they travel through, and humans were migratory and nomadic long before they became settlers so those relationships are also ancient and have their own lore.

Our travels in our van have been a bit of both ways of being. Always on the move, journeying to places we’d always wanted to visit but somehow never had time to before, places that had become almost mythical in our imaginations. But we were also looking for somewhere that felt like home, somewhere we’d return to live in for at least a few years. We’ve found that place, though we’ll still go off on adventures in our van whenever the urge takes us.

My next book is a story of movement, of characters blown like tumbleweed across lands by forces beyond their control, by wrongs that must be put right. They are strangers to the places they move through but sometimes strangers see and understand things about the land that locals don’t.

WSD: Please tell us about your dog!

Sara Crowe: He’s a big 4 year old hooligan with a soft nature and a very loud bark! We got him when I was seriously ill and waiting for major surgery – not the best time to get a lively puppy but we’re experienced dog owners and worked it all out in advance so it was fine. He loves to come exploring with me (except when it’s raining!). We walk miles every day and do a sort of woodland parkour for dogs, using whatever’s around. I get him to jump over or on to fallen trees or boulders, go through gaps in hedges, weave between trees, track objects I’ve hidden, that sort of thing. It all has to be done on command so it’s good training as well as great fun.  

WSD: For readers who enjoyed Bone Jack, can you recommend other novels (or poetry) they might enjoy?

Sara Crowe: I strongly recommend Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising sequence and Alan Garner’s Alderley books (The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Moon of Gomrath, Boneland) and his novel Elidor. Catherine Fisher’s Darkhenge and Crown of Acorns are wonderful too, as is Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock. Also Marcus Sedgwick’s Midwinterblood and Nigel McDowell’s strange and beautiful Tall Tales from Pitch End.
You can read M's review of Bone Jack here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi there! We'd love to hear what you think. Please leave a comment. You need to fill out the word captcha too because of spam. Your comment will be visible after approval.