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Sophie Kirtley Author Interview

We asked Sophie Kirtley a few questions about her love of reading, books and wild things…

Author Sophie Kirtley with her two published books for children.

A little bit about Sophie:
I grew up in Northern Ireland, where I spent my childhood climbing on hay bales, rolling down sand-dunes and leaping the raw Atlantic waves. Nowadays I live in Wiltshire with my husband, three children and our mini-menagerie of pets and wild things.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
Such a tricky question! I’ll go with a selection of favourites I think:
Something Old: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken (A book I loved when I was a child)
Something New: Wild Child by Dara McAnulty (A book I’ve read recently)
Something Borrowed: The Life and Time of Lonnie Quicke by Kirsty Applebaum. (A book I’ve borrowed from the library)
Something Blue: The House on the Edge by Alex Cotter. (A book with a blue cover!!)

What made you want to be an author?
I’ve ALWAYS loved reading and I’ve ALWAYS loved writing stories. When I was a girl I put on plays with my cousins and wrote entire scripts, complete with musical numbers and dance routines. I can still remember the words to some of the songs. Do you have a special/favourite place to write?

What inspires you most?
The natural world inspires me the most. I love being outside and noticing all the tiny details in the world around me – I also like learning the names for plants and animals as sometimes these can give you new insight and take your mind down different imagination pathways. Like, think of a dandelion. The word ‘dandelion’ comes from the French ‘Dent de Lion’ which means ‘Lion’s Tooth’ – do you think there’s a story in that somewhere?!

Could you survive in pre-historic Britain?
Haha! Well…I’m not a very quick runner so I’d have to hope I didn’t bump into anything that mistook me for its lunch. Plus I’m quite good at climbing up trees…but not great at getting back down again. And I might get a little bit hungry as I’ve never used a bow and arrow or a spear to catch my dinner, although I do like nuts and berries… Do you know what? I think I might copy Charlie in The Wild Way Home, and see if I could find a Stone Age friend to show me the ropes!

The Wild Way Home by Sophie Kirtley

When Charlie’s longed-for brother is born with a serious heart condition, Charlie’s world is turned upside down. Upset and afraid, Charlie flees the hospital and makes for the ancient forest on the edge of town. There Charlie finds a boy floating face-down in the stream, injured, but alive. But when Charlie sets off back to the hospital to fetch help, it seems the forest has changed. It’s become a place as strange and wild as the boy dressed in deerskins. For Charlie has unwittingly fled into the Stone Age, with no way to help the boy or return to the present day. Or is there?

What follows is a wild, big-hearted adventure as Charlie and the Stone Age boy set out together to find what they have lost – their courage, their hope, their family and their way home.

The Way to Impossible Island by Sophie Kirtley

Born with a serious heart condition, Dara has been waiting for his Big Operation forever, and this summer it’s finally going to happen. The moment his heart is fixed he’ll row out to the island in the bay all by himself just like he’s always dreamed. But when his op is postponed, Dara snaps. When will he get to live his real life? Maybe the adventures he dreams of are just silly fantasies.

And then he finds a girl hiding in the boat shed. She wears animal skins. She has a real live pet wolf. She is, simply, impossible. Could Mothgirl really be from the Stone Age? And what is she seeking on Lathrin Island? As Dara and Mothgirl set out on a wild, windswept sea journey Dara begins to realise that when you stop worrying about what’s impossible, you can do anything.

Find out more about Sophie and her writing adventures on her website:

Sophie, along with authors Tamsin Mori and Damaris Young, did a fantastic virtual author event with us on Wednesday 28 July to celebrate the Wild World Heroes, Summer Reading Challenge 2021. If you missed the event, please don’t worry – we’ll be sharing a recording of the event very soon!

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