A frosty tale written and illustrated by talented sisters, Natalia and Lauren O’Hara! We have a lovely Q&A to share with you today- Natalia was able to answer these questions and they are amazing!
Answered by Natalia O’Hara
What inspired the name ‘Frindleswylde’?
I honestly have no idea! Lauren painted an icy, princely little boy one morning in 2019 and when she showed him to me I said, “I want to make a story about that boy. His name is Frindleswylde.” I’ve had coughs that I considered more carefully.
Which books had a lasting impact on you as a child and why?
There’s actually one in particular. In August 1968, when the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia, our mother’s family fled to Britain. They took a small suitcase each, because they had to pretend that they were going on a beach holiday to cross the border. Our mum, who was a little girl at the time, left her coat behind so she could bring a tattered copy of Andersen’s tales, illustrated by Jiří Trnka.
As little children we adored that book, which seemed like a fragment of a lost world. Frindleswylde was our attempt to recreate a little of the enchantment we felt first reading it together in our living room.
The Three Impossible Tasks Frindleswylde sets Cora really do feel impossible. How long did it take you to create possible solutions for each task, and what was your process?
Good question! It took for ever because the tasks needed to fulfil 5 or 6 objectives in terms of plot, subplot and theme. And a lot of what was happening needed to be hidden. So that was the biggest plot challenge of the book, and took me a few weeks to resolve. As for “how”, I use spider diagrams and long walks.
What message are you hoping to leave readers with?
There was a medieval poet who said that writers need to hide a hard kernel of meaning in a sweet nut of story, and that’s what I try to do. I wouldn’t make you eat the kernel now, raw. That would be enough to make a sensitive reader gag.
But if you want a message, I left one in the story for you.
Frindleswylde by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara is published by Walker Books and is available from your favourite book shops.