Husky sledding and cooking piranha fish are all part of the fun-filled research that goes into writing Katherine Rundell’s novels. Bethany Parks finds out more.
Katherine Rundell’s new novel The Wolf Wilder has been described as a children’s classic in the making. The snow-filled fairytale is full of adventure, wolves, and a girl’s determination to rescue her mother.
What research did you do for The Wolf Wilder?
I have always loved writing about cold and weather so when I was researching this book I went husky-sledding in the Lyngen Alps in Norway. It was wonderful and cold, and we travelled across snow for days and days.
It is good to know as much as you can about a location you want to write about. Although I got to the point where I thought I had probably seen a lot more of a husky’s bottom than I ever wanted to.
And for your next book you travelled down The Amazon. Did any of your adventures make it into your writing?
When we were travelling along the river pink dolphins swam under our boat. We jumped into the water and swam after them. It was one of the best experiences. I like to include real moments like these in my books, so it can become more real for other people.
What other writing techniques do you use to male book seem more real to your readers?
I like describing food. If you can make your readers hungry, you can make it feel real. I always try to cook the food that I include in the books. We wanted to include cooked piranha fish in my next book, so we caught piranha in The Amazon.
You have some pretty unusual hobbies, such as tightrope walking. Why does this interest you?
Tightrope walking is somewhat like reading. It completely empties your mind of all other thoughts. I learned quite recently how to do it in high-heeled shoes, because I saw someone do it at a circus. I sprained my ankles for a year, but now I can do it… and it is the least useful talent in the world.
What advice would you give to any young writers?
Read everything. Always write about something you would love to read, not what the market would love to read. Be really, really focused and if necessary, tie yourself to a chair.
What adventures can we expect next?
My novel based in the Amazon will be out in 2017. I have also written a play based on the short stories of Saki, called Life According to Saki, which will be performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August this year.