Welcome to day 2 of Christmas Month and I have a Q&A with Moira Young! Her new book, THE ROAD TO EVER AFTER is one that will tug at your heartstrings,
(pic from website)
Moira Young is from Vancouver on the west coast of Canada. She moved to the UK to attend drama school, and so began a performing career that took her from London's alternative comedy circuit to the West End as a tap-dancing chorus girl. After retraining in opera, she sang at venues in Canada, the UK and Europe before moving to Bath and becoming a full-time writer. She is the author of the Dustlands trilogy, now published in over 30 countries. Her debut novel, Blood Red Road, the first in the trilogy, won the 2011 Costa Children's Book Award and was optioned for film by Ridley Scott.
Can you tell me about The Road To Ever After?
Davy David is a 13 year old homeless orphan scraping by on his own in a dead-end town. He finds comfort and companionship at the library and the movie house. Three days before Christmas, a stray dog called George crashes Davy's world into ruins and the two run straight into the life of Miss Elizabeth Flint. The elderly recluse is about to embark on a last road trip and she hires Davy and George to escort her. An extraordinary adventure awaits them.
It's a classic story of three outsiders, their unlikely friendship and the hope that grows on their life-changing journey together.
The basic story of The Road to Ever After - the boy, the dog and the old woman going on a journey - rose out of my sleep state, it nagged me awake so I would write it down. It grew especially from the old movies that I love. I like to think of stories - from myth and legend, from life and books and the movies - as the shared dreams of people down the ages. I believe they run in me and through me in a continuous stream of dreamings. I wonder if The Road to Ever After will draw some readers along in a kind of waking dream.
What are some of your favourite Christmas memories?
When I was small, my sisters and I would ceremoniously place a glass of milk and sugar cookie for Santa on the hearth in front of the fireplace, where they'd be the first thing he saw when he came down the chimney. We'd also leave a carrot for the reindeer. If only I'd been more canny. Posting an advance list of the extra chores I'd do in exchange for a better present might have spared me that set of plastic bowling pins. The smell of the fir tree inside the house. The tang of thin-skinned Mandarin oranges, which came only at Christmas time, packed in a wooden crate with each fruit carefully wrapped in a square of thin tissue paper, either lime green or pale purple. The new leather smell of the ice skates I got when I was eight; my main skating influences were hockey players and Hans Brinker, so I adopted a unique crouch-and-dash approach with flailing arms and collapsed ankles. I must have been quite a sight.
Do you have any Christmas traditions?
My mother's an excellent baker and has a number of specialties that we still love: Christmas tree sugar cookies sprinkled with coloured sugar, shortbread, butter tarts, Nanaimo bars; basically, sugar sugar and more sugar. One family tradition is that my youngest sister will eat far too much turkey and end up lying on the floor groaning and vowing never to do it again. It's predictable and never fails to entertain us. We'll play Pictionary or some other worn-out board game and my mother will cheat in plain view. I must have seasonal viewings of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, the David Lean A Christmas Carol, Meet Me in St Louis and - always and forever - It's A Wonderful Life.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
I depend upon my childhood comfort reads in these short, dark days of the year: The Little White Horse; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; The Secret Garden; Anne of Green Gables. I'll turn to Great Expectations for the umpteenth time, Dickens is a master storyteller and a big influence on me. Since it's Christmas, I'll pull out A Christmas Carol. This year, I'll also be reading The Greatest Gift by Philip van Doren Stern, and I'll read it with particular joy and thankfulness. It's the short story that gave birth to It's A Wonderful Life and, since that movie gave birth to The Road to Ever After, I owe it a very large debt.
Davy David, an orphan, lives by his wits in the dead-end town of Brownvale. When a stray dog called George turns Davy's life upside down just days before Christmas, he sets in motion a chain of events which forces them to flee. A mischievous wind blows the two of them to a boarded-up museum on the outskirts of town where they meet the elderly recluse, Miss Flint. She has planned one last adventure before her time is up and hires the reluctant Davy and George to escort her. A magical adventure about an unlikely friendship and an unforgettable journey.
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