Meet Ondine Sherman. Her debut YA novel, Sky is being published by Allen & Unwin next month. Reading Time will be reviewing it soon. Here, Ondine talks about the protagonist Sky, how she developed, and what she means to the author.
Sky developed as a character slowly and, in a weird way, I got to know her inside my head like making a new (imaginary!) friend. It was my first time writing a fiction book, and I just loved how it took over my brain. I’d think about Sky at random times in the day while I was shopping for groceries, walking the dogs and cleaning my teeth, imagining things she would say and do.
Sky’s probably, in equal parts: me; my daughter Jasmine; who I would have aspired to be as a teen and; who I would have loved as a best friend.
I was a sensitive young thing (my brother said ‘over-sensitive!’) and Sky is the same. But being sensitive, and a little introverted, often makes people especially empathetic to the suffering of others. And Sky’s sensitivity brings her closer to animals makes her tuned in to their needs and feelings, and, ultimately, connecting her with people who share her values of kindness and compassion. But Sky is way more courageous than I was when I was young. Facing huge pressures, grief and other obstacles she has to find a way to stay true to herself and that’s tough for anyone, especially in high-school.
I dedicated the book to my daughter Jasmine who is only twelve, but a real inspiration for the character – sweet as silan (that’s a delicious honey made from dates), but not afraid to be true to her own unique self.
Now I love Sky so much, I want to keep writing her, thinking of her, being her, and I’m working on my second book in the series. Her next stop is Alaska and her adventures are far from finished. I can’t wait to share book two with everyone soon.
Thanks for writing this post for us, and thanks to Jess at A & U. We will link to review when it’s up.