This month I’ve decided to interview the brilliant Rhian Ivory about her brilliant book ‘The Boy Who Drew the Future’. Brilliant!
What is The Boy who Drew the Future about?
Noah and Blaze live in the same village over 100 years apart. They are linked by a river and a strange gift: they both compulsively draw images they don’t understand, that later come true. They can draw the future. 1860s – Blaze is alone after his mother’s death, dependent on the kindness of the villagers, who all distrust his gift as witchcraft but still want him to predict the future for them. When they don’t like what he draws, life gets very dangerous for him. Present day – Noah comes to the village for a new start. His parents are desperate for him to be ‘normal’ after all the trouble they’ve had in the past. He makes a friend, Beth, but as with Blaze the strangeness of his drawings start to turn people against him and things get very threatening. Will he be driven away from this new home – and from Beth? Will both boys be destroyed by their strange gift, or can a new future be drawn?
The book interweaves chapters from the present day (Noah) and the past (Blaze). What sort of research did you find yourself doing?
I did a lot of historical research for Blaze’s chapters, reading court reports about the real Sible Hedingham Witchcraft Case which is fascinating.
For Noah’s chapters I read as much as I could find about art and Gustav Klimt in particular. I wanted to immerse Noah’s character in a very visual world.
Your previous novels (published by Bloomsbury under the name Rhian Tracey) are contemporary YAs – what made you decide to write a book with such a strong historical element?
I’ve always wanted to write historical fiction, it is my favourite genre and I’ve read a lot of it but have been a bit nervous about approaching it. However I really liked the idea of contrasting Noah’s experiences in the present day with Blaze’s in the 1860s.
What is your next book about?
My 6th novel is actually a novella and is contemporary fairy tale retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Matchgirl. My version is called Matchgirl.
Thanks to an Arts Council Grant I have had a year off in which to write my 7th novel Always, Hope which is about stalking, social media and singing.
I’m starting my 8th novel this month which is exciting and scary at the same time, entering a different world filled with new characters.
You are a Patron of Reading and Creative Writing specialist, what does this entail?
I visit primary and secondary schools promoting reading and sharing my writing skills. I love school visits, they are so much fun!
Have you got any public events coming up?
Yes! I’ll be at Waterstones Oxford in August, Waterstones Milton Keynes in September, Waterstones Cirencester in Sept/October and Waterstones Cheltenham in November with Emma Carroll, Katherine Woodfine, Lauren James and Helen Maslin. We’ll be talking about historical fiction. Here’s a write up of our event most recent event at Waterstones Birmingham by the wonderful Chelley Toy – http://talesofyesterday.co.uk/2016/04/tales-events-brumhist-waterstones-birmingham-april-2016/
I’m at YALC in July which I’m really looking forward to. I’ll also be at YAShot literary convention at Waterstones Uxbridge in October running a workshop on how to write historical fiction.
You can follow Rhian on twitter @Rhian_Ivory and find out more about her by visiting Firefly’s website – http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/node/162