4. Where did you get your ideas from?
Mainly from working with teenagers. Young people inspire me all the time and amaze me with their insights and imagination. Plus I get ideas from a few wise friends who have been a great influence on my life. Apart from that, my ideas come from big questions which I can’t answer, and strange experiences which no one can explain.
5. Why did you want to write the story in windows instead of chapters?
Well, when I first saw some of Grant MacDonald’s beautiful illustrations for the book, I felt that they were like a window into a different world - Leah’s Universe. The illustration for ‘Window One’ for example, of the mystical island near where Leah grew up, is a window into her life when she was only 6 years old. And ‘Window Ten’ is Tanguy looking out onto a scene from his life in a village by Lake Chad in Africa.
6. Do you like to help the environment like Leah?
Since I was Leah’s age, I’ve always loved nature and used to write poetry and songs about it. Then I realised that humans were doing so much damage to the environment, that I had to do anything I could to protect it. We try to recycle absolutely everything and grow vegetables and fruit in the garden. I’ve also campaigned locally for years to help protect the green belt, natural habitats and biodiversity.
7. Would you make a series of these books with the same characters but different events?
Home is actually the first in the Leah’s Universe series. The next book in the trilogy will be called Dragonfly. I have just started writing it (hopefully I will write it a bit quicker than Home!). All I can say is that it will feature some characters from Home that readers have told me must absolutely be in the second book! You will find some characters you know, some you don’t and events which are very different. Leah is growing up fast.
8. Do you think Leah and Maia will encourage others to do more about climate change?
I really, really hope so. I think Leah represents a young adult’s passion for solving climate change problems, and she offers a very fresh approach. Maia represents an adult’s passion for the same issues, and she totally agrees with Leah’s thinking. I hope that the scene at summer camp where they make a film about ‘home’, will inspire people of all ages to make some real changes to help the climate and the next generation who didn’t create this crisis.