Laura Wood answers our questions about her novel, A Snowfall of Silver (Scholastic), which has been shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2021.
1. Can you sum up your book in one sentence?
A story about beautiful theatres, snow-kissed ruins, charming men in wool coats, and ambitious young women following their dreams.
2. What inspired the book?
My love of the theatre, combined with classic coming-of-age books that are my favourites. It’s a sort of grown up Ballet Shoes, inspired by things like The Swish of the Curtain, I Capture the Castle, and A Company of Swans. I was also writing it during the first lockdown and I think it was heavily impacted by that — I wanted the book to be an escape, something soothing and comforting in an especially turbulent moment.
3. Which character in the book is your favourite, and why?
I think it would have to be Freya. The book is written in her voice, and I felt that I got to know her really well. I love her drive and ambition, the way she is unapologetic about the space she takes up, and her sense of humour.
4. What does being on this year’s YA Book Prize shortlist mean to you?
It’s hard to express what it means really. I was lucky enough to be shortlisted with my first YA book and I was so shocked and truly never expected it to happen again! Writing this book in such difficult circumstances, and releasing it at such a horrible time made me sad — as if I somehow wasn’t giving it its best chance to reach people. I care about this book very deeply and to see it on this list is an incredible lift.
5. What's the best thing about writing for young adults?
Exploring that paper thin boundary between childhood and adulthood — the exhilaration, the hope, the fear, the moments of becoming. Everything is amplified.
6. What was your favourite book as a teenager?
I had lots! Anything by Eva Ibbotson, but especially A Company of Swans or The Secret Countess. I loved Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. I have incredibly vivid memories of reading Maggie O’Farrell’s book After You’d Gone, and crying so much I had to change my pillowcase — I pressed that book on everyone I knew, it felt like such a huge moment as a teenage reader.
7. What is your top writing tip?
Just start writing. As the ultimate procrastinator, my top tip is always turn up and write anything. Once you get started it will be easier!
8. What songs would be on a playlist for your book?
"Snow" from the film "White Christmas", "I’m Sailing on a Sunbeam" by Des Tooley, "It’s Nice to Have a Friend" by Taylor Swift.
9. Who would you cast in a film version of your book?
I knew from the beginning that Nicola Coughlan would be the PERFECT actor to play Freya, and seeing her do her English accent in "Bridgerton" only confirmed this for me!
10. Which book, film or TV show would you recommend to someone who enjoyed your book?
Anything by Eva Ibbotson or Georgette Heyer. The Felicity Jones adaptation of Northanger Abbey, I Capture the Castle (book and film!).
You can find out more about Laura Wood and A Snowfall of Silver, and read the first chapter of the book for free, on the YA Book Prize website.
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