Today’s blog comes to us from the Rebecca Lisle, the author of THE SPIN. THE SPIN is a fantastical twist on a classic story full of action, adventure and mystery. Stormy is an orphan working in the kitchens of the Academy – a school for Sky-Riders, children who learn to ride Spitfyres or fire-breathing flying horses. But as Stormy uncovers a tangle of dark secrets at the heart of the school it may be more than his dreams that are risk…
We asked Rebecca her about her inspiration for the novel, how she came up with some of the story elements, and one of our favourite author questions, what her desk looks like. Her responses are below.
How did I ever get the idea to write THE SPIN? I looked back at my notebook where the story started, to try to remember.
I was waiting for a plane at Edinburgh airport, brainstorming ideas. My original plot involved a boy who wanted to work with dragons in a dragon school and he would turn out to be highly gifted and work wonderfully with them, a Dragon Whisperer. But it didn’t seem interesting enough and there were so many dragon books around already . . . I’ve always ridden, always loved horses, and in a moment of brilliant inspiration (even though I say it myself), my dragons turned into flying horses. They kept their leathery wings and the power to breathe fire from their dragon ancestors. Their coats glowed with amazing colours, as did their sparking breath. They could be dangerous and clever and gentle too. Spitfyres: a perfect name and another, out of the blue, flash of inspiration.
Names of characters are just as important as the names of things. Originally the hero was called Dixie and I hate that now. Stormy is a fantastic name, borrowed from a friend of my son’s and Maud is the daughter of a friend. There is an Araminta way back in our family history and how could she be anything but haughty and cold with a name like that?
At first the plot for THE SPIN involved Stormy saving a dwarf from a tight spot and the dwarf later secretly helped him win a place at the school. The clues and events in the story would make Stormy think that the girl Araminta had helped him. Then I realised my plot was not my plot at all, but that of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I hadn’t come up with anything original. But then I thought, so what? And I started to embrace Great Expectations and let my love of that book help bring my own book to life.
This is a picture of my desk. It is where I spend most of my day and so at the far end is my very important make-up station – I never leave the house without a bit of make-up on. And there’s a copy of Vogue, a diary and flowers. I haven’t tidied it up for the photo because it’s never tidy. This is how it is.