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Reader Q&A with Holly Webb


Holly Webb is the much loved and bestselling author of over 100 books, including The Storm Dog, The Lost Treasure, The Midnight Visitor and more.

The Story of Greenriver is her latest book, and tells the epic story of two animals and their battle against the odds to find each other and save the animals from the rising waters of Greenriver.

We were lucky enough to get our hands on some review copies and our young readers LOVED this tale of family, friendship, bravery and the effects of climate change.

One reviewer, Jimmy aged 10, wrote this lovely review and we asked him if he'd like to ask Holly his burning questions. 

"I loved this book! Holly Webb truly is a fantastic author. The story is set in winter and is about an otter and the spirit of the river. Once I received this, I sat and read the whole thing and refused to put it down. The whole story was amazing. I would recommend to ages 8+."

Here's their Q&A. Enjoy!

Reader Q&A with Holly Webb

1. What inspired you to write the book?

A whole mixture of things! I've always loved otters, and I really wanted to write a fantasy adventure with animals that echoed the books I'd loved growing up (and still love!) - the Narnia books, Redwall, The Animals of Farthing Wood, Watership Down... The list goes on!

2. Do you enjoy writing about animals?

Yes, I love it. The research is so interesting, and I love the way that finding out about the animals then slides me into the story - it was finding out that otter cubs can drown if their holt is flooded that started off The Story of Greenriver for me.

3. How long did it take you to write the book?

About three months for the first draft, but then lots more work, with my agent and then with my fantastic editor Lena.

4. When did you first realise that you wanted to be an author?

Not for a long time - growing up I loved reading and drawing more than writing. It was while I was working as an editor that I realised I really wanted to write. I didn't write my first book until I was 28!

5. What is the most difficult part of being an author?

Starting a new book. I put it off for ages, and then I have to trick myself into it by telling myself that it doesn't matter if the beginning is awful, I can go back and change it.

6. What do you think of first when writing? The title or the characters?

The characters. The title usually comes last - I am very bad at thinking of titles and it often means lots of ideas going back and forth with the editorial team!

7. What part of the book "The Story of Greenriver" was the most fun to write?

I loved writing about Sedge and Silken, the two main characters, finally getting to meet each other.

8. Are any characters in your books similar to people you know?

I think I borrow lots of little bits of people, but not often a whole portrait.

9. How do you come up with a title for your book?

Usually after a lot of angst and arguing! I love that this title has Story in it - it feels a bit like a fairy tale.

10. If you could meet your characters, what would you say to them?

Oh, that's such a good question. I would want to tell them that everything is going to be OK! I spent a lot of this book making them very worried - and then loving the moments when they get to be happy, I do feel quite guilty...

Reader Q&A with Holly Webb
Book pages Placeholder Book

The Story of Greenriver

The animals of Greenriver are in danger. Can Sedge and Silken find their way along the river to each other in time to save their home? A gorgeously illustrated adventure story that readers aged 8+ will treasure.

Last spring, the otters' home flooded. Now the water is high again.

Young otter Sedge believes he can save his holt from another flood - but he has to be brave enough travel downstream for help.

Downriver, the beaver lodge is also at risk. Silken - who is too small and weak to do the work needed to strengthen the beavers' dam - feels something calling her up the river.

As the two animals unknowingly swim towards each other, they are drawn to the spirit of Greenriver, who takes the form of a snow-white otter, Lady River.

But will Lady River hear their plea for safety?


30th September 2022

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