While I'm 'on tour' (my virtual tour for what is virtually a book - catch the first two gigs here and here) some friends have kindly agreed to mind the shop for me. First is Kate Dreyer, fellow Unbound author, who has come along to talk about her about her new novel, The Fox of Richmond Park.
So Kate, can you sum it up in a sentence?
If the Animals of Farthing Wood had lived in London and hated each other a little bit more, their story may have been a lot like this one.
Intriguing, tell us more...
The Fox of Richmond Park is an animal story for grown-ups, born from my experience of living and working in London. It’s the story of one Londoner who just happens to have fur and four legs. The main character, Vince the fox, has had enough of the Richmond Park deer bossing him around, so he leaves in search of his grandparents’ home. He doesn’t know the way, but Rita, an adventure-seeking magpie with an ill-advised love of singing, tags along to help. Together the pair traverse London, helped by the urban creatures they encounter along the way: Westminster's bumbling peregrine falcon, the timid family of hedgehogs in Regent's Park, Soho's hipster rats, and the occasional human.
I’ve always loved animals and spent much of my childhood reading stories about them, so after getting back into writing as an adult, it was almost inevitable that I would end up writing my own animal book. What I (and most people) love about animal stories is the new perspective it provides. A car or train becomes a monstrous death machine, the search for food is relentless, and there are enemies around every corner. However, other animal stories are often set in the countryside where the characters are under constant threat from predators and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. In London, though, crossing rivers and roads are no big deal for an urban fox and there are no hunting parties or farmers with shotguns, so the dangers Vince faces are completely different, although sometimes just as terrifying.
And why London?
I’ve lived in London for 8 years, and it’s one of the most multicultural cities in the world. There are interesting characters on every corner, with different backgrounds, opinions, lifestyles and stories to tell. Sure, many of these stories have been told before, but not through the eyes of animals. Also, the capital is home to a huge amount of urban wildlife and green spaces, as well as the big tourist attractions everyone instantly recognises, so Vince’s journey is told through a kind-of whistle-stop tour of the city, with animals popping up throughout. London is perhaps the biggest antagonist of this story, as it has shaped the way the animals and humans think and behave, forcing Vince to work with, or fight against them, in order to find his own place in the city.
Thanks Kate, good luck!
You can read an extract, find out more, and pledge for Kate's book here: