Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What We're Reading - Rescue on Nim's Island

Thanks to Allen and Unwin for this review copy. My boys loved having this story read to them - it was our first discovery of Nim and her island but we have since discovered there are more of them and a movie too!

The more we got into it the more I was begged for 'another chapter puuuuulllleeease!' Which I almost never resist and led to an hour and half reading marathon towards the end of this book.

The wonderful author Wendy Orr agreed to answers some questions for us. Of course when you ask an 8 year old and a 5 year old what questions they want to ask the author you are opening the door somewhat!

These were the questions we sent and the responses we got back.

Bounce -
Have you ever ridden on a sea lion?
What does a sea lion's fur feel like?
Wendy sent this gorgeous photo in answer to these rather funny questions!

Was the cake actually poisoned? What with?
It was actually poisoned. They used juice from rhubarb leaves, because that makes you very sick but probably wouldn't kill you.

Why was there a passage where Tiffany's foot got stuck?
Why was the hole joined to the bat's cave?
All the passages, tunnels and caves were formed in the mountain by water dripping or running through the limestone rock, and gradually dissolving it, so that bigger passages, tunnels and caves were formed. Of course this took many thousands of years! Also, any small earthquakes or rumbling through the mountain when the volcano erupted made new faults and cracks, so the water dripped down those and continued to erode the new holes in the tunnel or passage.

Wendy also sent through some links to websites about cave formations etc.

My questions - 
As an author how vivid is the setting of Nim's Island for you and it is based mainly on imagination or travel/photos etc?
It’s extremely vivid. It comes mostly from my imagination but of course my imagination is fed from scenes that I’ve seen myself, seen pictures of, or even just imagined from books. However I also have to actively plan it so that different parts of the island make sense with each other, so I draw a lot of maps.  For this book, I also added the pool with the cliffs and bat cave, that were filmed in Return to Nim’s Island. I used pictures from the film, and photographs of the real site (the Natural Bridge in Mt Tamborine.) I placed this in the middle of the rain forest, and to make sure it made sense in every direction, with the tunnels and caves through it, I made a 3 d model – ie, a huge map, covering mixing bowls and vases, that filled up my dining table for a few weeks!
the 3-d model

Do you have plans for further Nim's Island books?
Not at the moment. I’ve just become involved with a very different girl who’s been waiting patiently for several years.

We see that there has been a movie made from your earlier Nim tales - as an author what were the highlights and challenges of seeing your work translated into a new genre?
The two films, Nim’s Island, starring Jodie Foster, Abigail Breslin and Gerard Butler, and then Return to Nim’s Island, based on Nim at Sea, starring Bindi Irwin, Toby Wallace, John Waters and Matthew Lillard, were very different as far as how closely they stuck to the book, but they were both fantastic experiences. At all times I was aware of the respect for the story, and understood the logic when things had to change to be successfully translated to film.

One of the main highlights of being offered a film contract is simply knowing that someone cares about your story enough to invest years of their lives in it. However nothing compares with the first moment of seeing your characters and their story come to life on a giant screen. It is unbelievably moving. The only thing I can compare it to is seeing one of your children doing something extraordinary, and thinking, ‘How did this amazing person come from me?’

And of course having ticker tape blown down Hollywood Boulevard, and walking the red carpet of Graumann’s Chinese Theatre was quite fun too!  

How long does it take you from idea to completed manuscript and then how long again from acceptance to book in hand?
Often I keep ideas in my head for many years before I actually start writing them, but from start to finish of the manuscript is usually about a year for a Nim book. Because I’m working with the same publisher and editor, the editing starts during that time, but the main editing would be for several months after I’m finished. In this case it was about 5 months, and the book appeared a month after my last read-through and changes with the copy editor.

Thank you so much Wendy for answering our questions. We so enjoyed reading Rescue on Nim's Island and would recommend it to anyone who wants a fantastic outdoorsy tale where there are a good range of characters and solid values.

Details - Allen and Unwin July 2014, RRP $14.99 also available as an ebook.

love you more than a strange question delicately answered xxx