Something was approaching the burrow. Something deadly. Something that made Sylvan's fur bristle with fear...
Knowing their lives are under threat, Sylvan and his brother and sisters have no choice but to abandon their burrow for ever. Together they set out on an epic journey along the Great River; but with dangers lurking at every turn, will they ever find a safe place to call home?
I recently read The River Singers and straight away wanted to know more about why author Tom Moorhouse wrote this book and why he chose to tell a story about water voles.
This guest post tells you a bit about Tom's reasons for writing and I hope you enjoy reading it. Thanks, Tom!
Writing about water voles is romantic. No, really, it is.
by Tom Moorhouse
One question you seem to get asked a lot as a writer (almost as much as questions like, “Do you know where the post office is?”, “Have you got the time on you?” or “Why don't you stop writing and give me a hand with the hoovering for a change?”) is where your inspiration comes from. There are a number of possible answers to this, from the very simple to the quite personal and complicated. As an example of the simple answer, I spent eight years of my life as an ecologist studying water voles in the field. And so when I sat down to write some animal adventure stories, my books The River Singers and the soon-to-be-published The Rising (both, you won't be surprised to hear, about water voles) were the natural result. You see? Simple.
The problem is, though, that the simple answer just addresses the facts. It doesn't really explain why an author would want to write anything in the first place. I suspect that the real answer about inspiration is a bit different. In fact, I think that the real answer is that writing is romantic, and it's the romance that inspires authors to do it. Here, by the way, I use the word “romantic” not in the sense of the author sitting, like some sort of Victorian poet, waiting in a beautiful garden to the sound of a string quartet, for her Muse. No, for me romantic is what happens when you sit with a friend looking at an amazing view, knowing you both think its amazing. Or when somebody says something and you and your partner are the only two people in the room who find it funny (and have to apologise, but still). Romantic is when you connect with a fellow human being, for however brief a time, and share something that you find funny, or sad, or uplifting or magnificent. When that happens you feel just a bit like you've been understood by someone who is otherwise a very different and separate person. At heart, I think, writing is an attempt to recreate that experience.
So authors (okay, I can only speak for myself, here, so...I) tell stories full of characters and adventures, hoping that people will enjoy reading them, and in the process learn something about the world those characters live in. And, of course, some folks read a book and don't engage with it. We're all different and so it'd be weird if that didn't happen. But hopefully somebody, somewhere will read The River Singers, or The Rising and find themselves caught up in the story – a strange story that came out of my head about some small animals that I spent eight years of my life studying. If that happens it means that particular person has understood a bit about me and my life. And even if I never meet them, and in the most platonic sense imaginable, I think that's a little bit romantic. And you can believe me when I tell you that's all the inspiration I need.