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Interview with Dynamic Writer Sophie Kirtley

Interview with Dynamic Writer Sophie Kirtley

Hello Reader, 

Sophie

I am Riddhi Bhattacharya, a student, freelance blogger and writer and editor at The Teen Pop Magazine. My passion resides in etching down feelings of my heart and notions of my mind – conveying them to the world with my speeches, debates, articles and blog posts. 

Today I am in conversation with Bloomsbury Publications writer, Sophie Kirtley!

  • Sophie Kirtley
  • Sophie Kirtley
  • Sophie Kirtley

Sophie Kirtley grew up in Northern Ireland, where she spent her childhood climbing on hay bales, rolling down sand dunes and leaping the raw Atlantic waves. Nowadays she lives in Wiltshire with her husband, three children and their mini-menagerie of pets and wild things. Sophie has always loved stories: she has taught English and has worked in a theatre, a bookshop and a tiny pub where folk tell fairytales by candlelight. Sophie is also a prize-winning published poet

Interview with Sophie Kirtley

In your acknowledgments, you mention how your experiences as a child at Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland inspired you to write “The Wild Way Home”. Could you talk us through some of these experiences that paved the path for this book? The Mandel forest sounds not only phonetically but figuratively similar to Mount Sandel. Is this a fair a comparison to make and did that inspire the description of the forest?

Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the place as much as anything else – its sense of mystery and seclusion… and wild freedom.

Sophie Kirtley
(My little sister and I in the forest when we were girls)

Only years later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

The book revolves around family and siblinghood. To you, how similar are Charlie-Dara and Harby-Mothga? 

I see Charlie/Dara and Harby/Mothga almost as mirrors to each other. Charlie learns a lot about family and about siblinghood through helping Harby and through developing an understanding of Harby’s relationship with his lost little sister. For Harby, realising that Charlie too has a younger sibling gives them some common ground and helps him build trust.

The part with the “pack” is a very emotional and memorable scene. Did you plan this to be a precedent in determining Charlie’s evolving motivation to be with Dara?

The co-operation in a wolf pack is very much a metaphor for family life in a human sense. Charlie gradually learns that being part of a family is about all helping and supporting each other.

How did you maintain the constant action and thrill throughout the book? 

I wanted the book to be exciting as well as thought-provoking. My editor really helped me to create pace and tension in order to achieve this. I tried to make sure that the chapters ended at a pivotal moment to make us feel like we were always on a knife-edge, just like Charlie!

What does the book mean to you and if you could describe it in a sentence how would you? 

A warm-hearted Stone Age adventure about family and friendship.

Are you currently working on a book, if so, without giving out too much, could you describe in one word what it is about? 

My next book is out in July 2021. It’s called The Way to Impossible Island and it tells the story of twelve year old Stone Age Mothga who accidentally stumbles into the modern day… and meets twelve year old Dara. In a word: sea-swept

What has been your best piece of writing advice? 

Read! A lot! 

Rapid Fire:

  • Favourite short story:
    Sredni Vashtar by Saki 
  • The most unique thing about your writing style? 
    Poetic warmth
  • Best thing about writing? 
    Limitless exploration
  • What do the following writers have that you really admire:
    • J. K. Rowling – Pace and Dynamism 
    • William Shakespeare – Human Understanding 
    • Charlotte Bronte – Wild Settings
    • Jane Austen – Witt
    • Charles Dickens – Observations of Humankind and great Character names

Thanks to Beatrice Cross from Bloomsbury Publishing for bringing this interview to life.

– THE TEEN POP TEAM

Ways to Reach Sophie Kirtley

Ways to Reach Riddhi Bhattacharya

You can check other Interviews:

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the Sophie as much as anything else – its sense of Sophie and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only Sophie later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the Sophie as much as anything else – its sense of Sophie and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only Sophie later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the Sophie as much as anything else – its sense of Sophie and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only Sophie later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the Sophie as much as anything else – its sense of Sophie and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only Sophie later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

See Also

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the Sophie as much as anything else – its sense of Sophie and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only Sophie later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the Sophie as much as anything else – its sense of Sophie and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only Sophie later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the Sophie as much as anything else – its sense of Sophie and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only Sophie later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the place as much as anything else – its sense of mystery and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only years later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the place as much as anything else – its sense of mystery and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only years later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the place as much as anything else – its sense of mystery and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only years later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the place as much as anything else – its sense of mystery and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only years later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the place as much as anything else – its sense of mystery and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only years later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the place as much as anything else – its sense of mystery and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only years later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the place as much as anything else – its sense of mystery and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only years later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the place as much as anything else – its sense of mystery and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only years later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

 Mandel Forest is indeed inspired by Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland, where I grew up.  When I was little I played with my friends and family in this forest – I remember the feeling of the place as much as anything else – its sense of mystery and seclusion… and wild freedom. Only years later did I realise that in this forest archaeologists had found the remains of a Stone Age settlement. The idea that I’d played somewhere where children had been playing for millennia was the spark which ignited this story. I revisited Mount Sandel Forest when I was writing The Wild Way Home – it is still just as beautiful and mysterious!

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