As my stop on the Blog Tour for Melt I decided to ask the author Ele Fountain a few questions about her writing process.
You can also read my book review here.
1) I thought the part where Bea is trying to settle into a new place and new school was really well done and you could really get a sense of what she had to deal with. Where did the inspiration for this part of the story come from?
Teenagers have a lot to deal with. It’s a time when many kids want to work out how they fit in and are struggling with what people see on the outside versus how they feel inside. Bea experiences an intense version of this. I wanted to show that there are many ways to ‘fit in’, but you will probably be happiest with those who let you be yourself.
2a) The character of Yutu is clearly rooted in his traditional Arctic village. How did you find out about or research the background for this character? (I am particularly interested in this as you mention in the back that your wrote this book in lockdown?)
I love research. Writing a book allows you to become briefly expert in many things from how to take off in a light aircraft, to the distance an average snowmobile can travel on one tank of fuel. My sources are diverse. From scholarly to home videos. The trouble is, research can be such a rabbit hole – the more I learn, the more I need to know. As I began to research Inuit language and culture, I became fascinated by the clothing made from sealskin and caribou. There were waterproof bodysuits and winter footwear made of up to five different layers. I wanted the richness of this incredible adaptation to infuse the story too.
2b) I noticed how it is the inter-relationships between Yutu and his Granma (whom he lives with) that help you to understand the character. Any tips on how you can use the communication and/or dialogue between two characters to help you understand them?
I find that with dialogue it’s as much about what characters don’t say, as what they do. Miki chooses her words carefully; much of the time she listens. Resisting the urge to make your characters speak when they wouldn’t, or say more than they should, I find really helps.
3) In the second part of the story, there are quite a bit of layering, as the different parts of the plot come to light. I love how you reader begins to make sense of what is going on as Bea herself does. (I notice you did this in Lost, your story set in India too). It gives a real-time feel and sense of urgency to the narrative. Did you know where your story was going when you started or did it evolve?
I always plot my stories, but many of my favourite details weave themselves into the narrative as I go along. I know from my many years as an editor, the disaster that can lie at the end of an un plotted story. What I didn’t know, until I started writing myself, is quite how much your imagination can take over as you write, adding all kinds of ‘extras’.
You can purchase this book from me at Readers that Care here.
To find out more about this book be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour.