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Please welcome amazing author and fabulous hat-wearer Frances Hardinge to the blog for the Countdown to 7th May tour, where she’s kindly sharing with us her Bookish Firsts! Don’t forget to check out the #CountdownYA hastag for more on this amazing tour to celebrate upcoming books!


Bookish Firsts

With author Frances Hardinge

What is the first book you ever read/remember reading?
frances-caterpillarI know that when I was a baby I was given cloth books to chew. Unsurprisingly, I don’t remember those very well!

I do have a faint recollection of reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, though I’m not sure whether this is a ‘created memory’ based on what I was told later.

What is the first book your wrote (can be published or unpublished)?
My first full length novel was a spy thriller I completed at the age of thirteen. It was handwritten in pencil, and very carefully hidden because I was terribly shy about it. The main character was a thirteen-year-old orphan who is recruited by spies, and the plotline was strongly influenced by the murder mysteries I’d read and the Hitchcock films I loved – lots of twists, turns, betrayals, shocks and perils.

It’s still hidden, and rightly so. It’s really not very good!

Cheshire Cat SmilingWhat is the first book character you loved?
One of the first book characters I loved was the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. He was a law unto himself, even by the anarchic standards of Wonderland. I admired the way he went where he pleased, disappeared at will, feared nothing and met all disapproval with a grin. He was aware of the madness of the world and his share in it, but it didn’t upset him.

Vignette catEven the domineering, execution-obsessed Queen of Hearts was helpless in the face of the Cat. How do you decapitate a floating head?

“A cat may look at a king.” The Cheshire Cat taught me that we can peer at the powerful, make up their minds about them, criticise their faults and mock their follies. And sometimes the kings, queens and rulers of the world are more frightened of a mocking grin than anything else…

About The Lie Tree

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

The leaves were cold and slightly clammy. There was no mistaking them. She had seen their likeness painstakingly sketched in her father’s journal. This was his greatest secret, his treasure and his undoing. The Tree of Lies. Now it was hers, and the journey he had never finished stretched out before her.

From the award-winning author of FLY BY NIGHT, and its Carnegie-Medal-2012-nominated, Guardian-Prize-shortlisted sequel, TWILIGHT ROBBERY, comes a beguiling tale of mystery and intrigue. . .

Plagued by an unspoken scandal, fourteen-year-old Faith Sunderly and her family are forced to flee their home in Kent to start a new life. But news travels fast, and the gossip they’re running from soon reaches the small island community of Vane, to devastating effect. When Faith’s father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies. Patriarchal Victorian society may not listen to a girl’s questions, but Faith has other plans. Following the trail left behind in her father’s books, and their secret father-daughter night-time boat ride, Faith discovers her father’s biggest secret . . .

A tree that feeds off whispered lies and bears fruit that reveals hidden secrets. The bigger the lie, and the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered. But as Faith’s untruths spread like wildfire across the island, she discovers that sometimes a single lie is more potent than any truth.

About Frances Hardinge

Frances Hardinge spent a large part of her childhood in a huge old house that inspired her to write stories from an early age. She read English at Oxford University, then got a job at a software company. However, a few years later a persistent friend finally managed to bully Frances into sending a few chapters of FLY BY NIGHT, her first children’s novel, to a publisher. Macmillan made her an immediate offer. The book went on to publish to huge critical acclaim and win the Branford Boase First Novel Award. THE LIE TREE is Frances’ seventh novel.

One Comment to Countdown to 7th May: Bookish Firsts: Frances Hardinge

  1. Cindy Van Wilder says:

    I'm so excited about that novel, I loved Cuckoo Song to pieces! Thank you for this interview 🙂
    My recent post [Review] An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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