Oksa Pollock, sometimes described as the French answer to Harry Potter, is a series of six fantasy children’s novels by Anne Plichota and Cendrine Wolf. Originally published in French, the first volume, ‘The Last Hope‘ was published in English to great reviews in 2013. The second volume, ‘The Forest of Lost Souls‘ hit UK bookshelves earlier this month and today I’ve a guest post from the series’ two authors.
Anne Plichota: I’ve had many jobs, but the last one and the one I’ve done the longest (12 years) and liked the best was when I was a librarian. I loved it! Books have always been part of my environment—they were a very important source of comfort when I was a child and a teenager, and I was terribly shy and worried. They were an anchoring point and a beacon of hope, an infinite space into which I could escape as far as I wanted, discover, wonder, dream, be scared and understand….
Later, when I became a librarian I loved it! I was lucky enough to work in a very large library (150,000 books!) A paradise! I’ve grown huge muscles from bringing bags of books back home. They all were calling me at once! Sharing and conveying my passion for books made me fabulously happy especially when I had to deal with sceptical audiences, or people who had an issue with reading. I had one goal in mind: to demonstrate that there can be a book for each of us regardless of our taste or sensitivity. It could be a book with photographs and a couple of lines, a poetry book, an 800-page novel or a very small paperback, a very niche philosophy or gardening book, a graphic novel, romance, pulp fiction, biographies… we can all find what suits us best or what we’re looking for. My basic principle is that there is no such thing as reading the wrong book. A reader who likes one book (it doesn’t matter which one) will want to read others. Isn’t that the main thing? I would encourage people to walk up and down the aisles of the library, listen to the books calling, and grab one based on its title, its cover, its blurb or an intuition. Instinct can often be the best guide!
Switching from being that close to books to actually writing them was fairly easy. There are so many books on the tables in bookshops and on the shelves of libraries, I could have hesitated and wondered whether I’d find a space! But you can also turn things around and think: if all those books got a chance to exist, why not mine?
Cendrine Wolf: Oksa Pollock did not start how we had dreamt it would. We’d written the first book with loads of passion and grit, and when we hit a brick wall and failed to find a publisher, we decided not to give up. We self-published Oksa. The Internet truly jumpstarted the series: the readers (the Pollockmaniacs!) gathered on the web, started supporting and encouraging us and promoted us to the media until the rumour they created reached a publisher. And the rest is history…