Was The Christmas Pig written for young children?
There are definitely younger children who could read this alone, as well as older children. I’d love to think it could lead to interesting conversations between younger readers and adults who might be reading the book aloud to them, about the things we treasure, about how change and loss are inevitable parts of life, but that wonderful things can come out of them, all the same.
There are many classic stories which are set at Christmas-time. Is this setting important to you?
"I’ve always wanted to write a story, so this is the realisation of a longstanding ambition! But it had to be the right story, and finally I found it."
If you had to describe the character Jack in three words, what would those three words be? How about The Christmas Pig?
"Jack is brave, loving and a little lost, though he finds himself through his adventure with the Christmas Pig, and I’d describe CP in exactly the same way."
How different was it plotting out the Harry Potter series? Is there any magic in The Christmas Pig?
"I’m a great planner and I knew exactly what was going to happen, and where, and how, before I started writing The Christmas Pig. The Christmas Pig is a magical story, but in a very different way to Harry Potter. You’re entering a world that runs according to its own peculiar magical laws, and there is magic around Christmas Eve, but there are no wands and wizards."
Are Jim Field’s illustrations as you pictured the characters and world in your head?
"Jim’s illustrations are simply perfect. It really is as though he got inside my head and drew what he saw there! I gasped out loud when I saw one particular illustration (I can’t say which it is without giving spoilers), because it was such a perfect representation of one of my favourite scenes."
How did you work with Jim and did you enjoy it?
"Jim and I worked through my editor, Ruth, who sent me Jim’s rough drawings and passed my feedback to Jim. As he was getting everything pretty much spot on the first time he drew it, most of my comments consisted of expressions of delight! I loved working with him. He really was the perfect illustrator for the project."
Where did you write the story?
"I wrote most of the story in my writing room in the garden, but I remember mapping out the Land of the Lost while our family was on holiday. My children were playing on the beach and I was huddled beneath a sunshade, drawing maps and thinking through the logistics of the world."