Happy Friday everyone! We have the utter joy of hosting today’s stop on the Sky Pirates blog tour. This book I read back in April (I was VERY KINDLY sent a review copy) and I absolutely loved it – you can check out my review at the bottom of this post…
Not only is today my stop on the blog tour, but we have the UTTER JOY of having author extraordinaire Alex English here with a blog post for us (so you don’t have to hear me witter on!) taking about the inspirations behind her wonderful book, Sky Pirates!
The inspirations behind Sky Pirates
By Alex English
When people ask me what inspires me to write, it can be difficult to pin down exactly. The truth is that I take inspiration from everywhere – books, movies, museum exhibitions, overheard conversations and the news. Here are a few of the inspirations behind Sky PIrates:
Brexit is what got me thinking about a walled city with gates that never opened. Hopefully I’ve made it a bit more fun though.
The Stuck Gates of Traquair House
I knew I wanted to have some gates to Lockfort that couldn’t be opened but I couldn’t quite figure out a good reason why. One of my Bath Spa University tutors, CJ Skuse, told me about the Stuck Gates of Traquair in Scotland, which can never open until a prophecy is fulfilled. I loved this idea so I came up with my own prophecy. It seems impossible, but maybe one day someone will be able to fulfil it…
The Palace of Versailles
I currently live outside Paris and very close to Versailles. It’s an incredible place. The opulence of the Hall of Mirrors inspired some of the glitzy décor in Castle Lockfort.
Venus flytraps and giant clams
I remember reading about giant clams in an adventure story when I was a child. They lurked in shallow water, and when the tide went out they would clamp your legs in their shell. When the tide came in, you were a goner. In Sky Pirates, I combined the giant clam with a venus flytrap, another of my childhood fascinations, to give me the Goliath’s Mantrap, a huge carnivorous plant that is only found in the Violet Isles.
Heath Robinson’s crazy contraptions
I first discovered Heath Robinson when I was a child and I’ve been a fan ever since. He drew strange, low-tech contraptions, like his pulley-powered pea-eating machine. This inspired Professor Daggerwing’s Cat-o-Puller, a machine he has in his multi-storey house that lets his many cats get up and down the stairs without lifting a paw.
There’s certainly a little bit of Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean and Studio Ghibli somewhere in the mix.
Adventurous fiction like Jules Verne’s extraordinary voyages books definitely inspired me. Sailing off to explore new lands is a big part of the Sky Pirates story.
These are just a few of the things that have inspired me. The key is to consume greedily and widely, then it all sloshes around in my mind for a bit until something new comes out!
As I said, I read this book back in April and I UTTERLY adored it!
“I love a book that comes to me as a surprise and then I’m into it. This was another of those MG books that didn’t stay on my pile for very long because it just appealed to me an awful lot. I was sent a proof copy by the brilliant Simon and Schuster and I just love them a lot for it. The story is a whole load of fun! It is a story jam packed with creativity and a brilliant imagination. Kids are going to love how FUN this book is! There’s cool inventions, brave youngsters, a bunch of sky pirates and a king who’s making shoddy choices for his people. (But seriously, the King is not a great person!). This is full of adventure, dangers, friendship and exploration. And I loved Gilbert. What a hero. Bloody brilliant!”
A massive, massive thank you to Alex for taking the time to write that blog post for me. Now that I know the inspirations, I can pick out some of them from what I remember of the book.. but I DEFINITELY want to go back and reread it, and MAYBE just MAYBE get more from this amazing bunch of characters and the world! Sky Pirates is out now (it was released YESTERDAY I believe!) so you should DEFINITELY get your hands on it!
Why not check out the rest of the blog tour? There’s some brilliant posts to read!