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Author Interview: The Wind Child by Gabriela Houston

Episode 50

Release Date: July 13, 2022

Your hosts are joined by Gabriela Houston to talk about her book The Wind Child. They discuss grief and how to write about serious concepts for younger children. They also talk about the many depictions of motherhood, best friends, and Slavic folklore.

Thanks to the following musicians for the use of their songs:

- Amarià for the use of “Sérénade à Notre Dame de Paris” - Josh Woodward for the use of “Electric Sunrise”

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License


Episode Transcript*

*this transcript is AI generated, please excuse the mess.

Lilly 00:07

Hello, and welcome to fiction fans, a podcast where we read books and other words to Emily.

Sara 00:14

And I'm Sarah, and I'm so thrilled to welcome Gabriela Houston onto the podcast to talk about her novel The wind child with us.

Gabriela 00:21

Thank you for inviting me. I'm thrilled to be here.

Lilly 00:24

Fantastic. Well, before we start bombarding you with questions about this book, let's do a little bit of intro, but something great that happened recently,

Gabriela 00:34

something great that's happened recently, actually, last week was quite busy in a very good way. Last weekend, I went to ye lead Fest and kidlit Fest in Preston, which is in North of England, where I actually got to meet my children's publisher for first time in person and like, a lot of people have been emailing with a but you know, people have never met in person. So that was a really lovely experience a couple of panels, it was just a great atmosphere. And first day, if it was another event, this time on the adult side, angry robot books will publish the second bell, my adult novel, arranged like offer showcase thing in London. And but yeah, and I go again, I got to meet some people, but I have actually become like quite good friends with over the internet over WhatsApp. But I had never actually seen in person, it's just it's quite an odd experience, you know? Versus which is, especially if they don't look why the way you imagined them or like, you know, you only ever seen her face. But like my good friend like you who like came to stay over as well, like she she was she's so much taller than I imagined. I get over it. It's like because you have this image in your head. It's when people stop wearing masks, and you've only ever seen them like the top half of your face. Your brain just sort of draws in the rest of it, and then inevitably doesn't match their actual face.

Sara 01:57

Yeah, I've met a couple of people that become friends with Facebook, Twitter, and just been astounded by how tall they were. Because like when you know, when you're on Zoom, everyone looks roughly the same height. And then you meet them in person. And you're like, wow, you're towering over me over

Gabriela 02:14

furnitures adjusted roughly, you know specification. Yeah, everything's different scale.

Lilly 02:25

Well, that's all sounds lovely. And it's so nice to be able to meet people that you've, you've gotten to know, Sarah, what something great that happened for you lately.

Sara 02:33

My good thing for this week is that I have made an appointment with my tattoo artist to expand on the tattoo that I have. So I'm really excited about that. Oh, excellent.

Lilly 02:41

Yeah. I'm not going to ask you to describe your tattoo because this is a podcast that would get boring really fast.

Sara 02:49

I don't think it would be a very interesting listening.

Gabriela 02:52

I feel like it's gonna be quite like personal questions. Well,

Sara 02:56

it can be. I mean, I think I don't feel entitled

Lilly 02:59

to I do. That's fine.

Sara 03:04

I mean, I think my tattoo and I've said this to Willie before. I don't think I've said it on the podcast, but my tattoo is just art. Like it doesn't really have any personal meaning to me, aside from the fact that it's just it's pretty. I like it so

Lilly 03:17

good, as it should be.

Gabriela 03:20

The alternative I imagine.

Lilly 03:25

Everyone should like their own tattoos. I think that's important. Yeah. That's a bit of a commitment. Yeah. I keep cheating on this question, saying a good thing that hasn't actually happened yet. But later today, I'm going to be planting some lilacs in my backyard and I'm very excited. Oh, that sounds very nice. Yeah, I've left them in pots for maybe too long. They make it but fingers crossed.

Gabriela 03:49

Oh five is nice. Yeah.

Lilly 03:51

I'm very excited. I want flowers year round. That's my goal. Year round flowers.

Gabriela 03:58

I used to have a good friend. I mean, who has died sadly but she used to have this allotment and from the earliest spring until the first frost every week something else bloomed it was a lot man bye but in a kind of style like so allotments in England tend to be just like people grow veg it's not really like hanging out spot in Poland for the people lucky enough to have a lot men's in the cities. Make it as a kind of almost like a little data thing where people build like a little hut. And yeah, and it's just a place to sort of go on the weekends really. So and they're tiny and they're tiny goes allotments, but people can create some really spectacular things.

Lilly 04:43

That's wonderful. That's my goal is live in the dream. I can't wait. I'm doing pretty good. I got two loops going. So let's start. And what is everyone drinking this evening? I put some cinnamon in my coffee. So I feel very fancy.

Gabriela 05:00

I'm just having some red berry tea. That sounds exciting. I mean, because you know, you don't require visual proof. I could say anything, right? Yeah, it was true. I feel like I should either like go very shocking with sluggers or whatever. Or I should be a little bit fancier. I don't know. It's just a red berry tea.

Sara 05:24

I'm also drinking to you. You're,

Lilly 05:26

you're not you're not strictly black tea person. What do you what kind? You don't get away with just

Sara 05:31

I think this this time. It is orange spice from NUMMI, because I had a tea bag that I stole from a hotel. Oh, from a hotel room. I mean, when I was staying at the

Gabriela 05:44

hotel, I think it's like it's technically given to you that tea bags. Yes.

Sara 05:49

I like the way you think.

Lilly 05:51

See? Thank you for sharing. Just he Sarah, have you been on this podcast before?

Sara 05:57

Well, I said that because I didn't want to look at the label because I didn't actually remember what kind of tea I was drinking.

Lilly 06:03

Fair enough. And to sort of ease into our book conversation other than the wins child, which we'll be discussing very shortly. Has anyone read anything good lately?

Sara 06:12

I'm still reading the phlebotomist by Chris Kenneth here, which I'm really enjoying. It's a good book. Yeah, it is.

Gabriela 06:19

Yeah. And if you're into his humor, his next book for stringers is really fun.

Sara 06:24

We actually recorded an episode with him on stringers. stringers was fantastic.

Gabriela 06:29

Yeah, he's really good

Lilly 06:31

about you, Gabriella, all traveling, no reading.

Gabriela 06:35

Well, I've actually just finished a really fantastic novel, actually, by Bridget Collins. It's called the betrayals. She's the author of a book called The binding. And I love the binding. And I thought, you know, I'm gonna buy anything she comes up with, but the betrayals is, like, almost on a completely different level. And it's so such a lovely experience when you read someone's book and you know, you know, very really solid writer really enjoy herself or inventive, their original. And then they, you know, they just really come into their own pros wise. And I feel like that's what happened here. And so the betrayals is sort of alternative kind of Europe, it feels like it's like kind of 1910s 1920s almost, but it's in small country is entirely controlled by the party, which is just like a very authoritarian political regime that becomes more and more repressive in terms of sort of culture and spirituality and everything and, and it follows face disgrace politician who's sort of banished to this monastery school where boys are taught the national game sort of thing. It's called the zoo or something or the grand Jew. And it's like, this game was supposed to encompass the entirety of human knowledge, including, you know, and like art and maths and music and architecture and philosophy and history and all of that. And he meets someone from his past. And it's just a very, it has mystery, and it has this kind of feel of, you know, the through boarding school feel, but it's claustrophobic but also with this sort of looming dread of the kind of overarching threat the party, so it's really, really good. Yeah, it sounds incredible. It

Sara 08:28

does sound good. Yeah. I have to go look that up. I'm intrigued by

Gabriela 08:32

the trails by Bridget Collins.

Lilly 08:35

Excellent. I have only read the wind Childs, but that's okay. Because that's what we're talking about. That's all that matters. I agree.

Sara 08:46

And it definitely qualifies as a good book. I should hope so.

Gabriela 08:51

Otherwise, we would have disinvited me.

Lilly 08:55

No, it was really fun. I haven't read a book written for a younger audience in a really long time. And I just forgot how I mean, not comforting. There's definitely some scary moments in that book. But the whole just sort of experience feels warmer. Maybe it's just my nostalgia hitting me. I don't know. The soldier for a book I hadn't read before. Is that weird?

Gabriela 09:17

No. I mean, if, like, that's the dream, really. From my point of view to hear that, I mean, I'm very very happy to hear that it's, I think people like sort of can sometimes expect one thing because obviously it tackles some very serious issues. But you know, like a childhood experience even one buys as dark as that like has potential for so much else. And by like, everything is an adventure everything is new. So

Sara 09:44

is there any difference in the way that you like plan a book or write when you write for a younger audience versus your adult novels?

Gabriela 09:51

Not plan I mean, I'm not much of a planner anyway. When I write to be honest, I kind of you know, I have a sort of initial idea. And I sort of follow it through and I follow the characters and sort of see where it takes me. I mean, so the winds child is just to give it like a quick introduction, really, basically. So it's a Slavic folklore inspired novel about Mara, who is the granddaughter of the god of winter wins. And she sets out on this epic journey to bring her beloved father back from the bed, she travels with her best friend torn over who can change into a bear. The initial sort of difference when you approach a book is that Maris age is different. So her life experience is different. I don't think that children's book should like dumb down things, you know, they like if you really feel your characters who younger when you kind of start thinking in a kind of how would this character see the world? How do they experience all those different things? How do they interact with people, you know, because some of those interactions, they are not prepared from them the way an adult would be. So in that sense, it doesn't make that much of a difference to the kind of writing process, there are certain things obviously, which you have to be very careful when you're tackling children's book, in terms of you know, like gore or anything like that, you know, you have to kind of be be very careful. And I mean, I don't believe in completely cutting out like whole realms of human experience from children's books, I think a lot of books have been doing that, especially sort of on the children, you know, like younger children fight, and I don't think it necessarily serves children very well, as much as you'd want to You can't shield your children from experiencing the world. And the best you can do is prepare them. And I think books which have, like, you know, it's like scientifically have been scientifically proven to actually build empathy and to sort of help children develop empathy. And you can't just pretend, but all this stuff like loss and fear, and abandonment and loneliness don't exist. And I don't, I don't necessarily like even reading children's books where like, everyone's always very happy, you know, like, where there's only perfectly happy families. And, you know, all of the mothers always like smile benevolently, and all the fathers are just fun. And, you know, because it doesn't match up with a lot of kids experiences. And I think a lot of children experience childhood loneliness, for example. And Mara, the main character in the wind child is a very lonely child, she's a very isolated child, she grows up in a palace of her grandfather, the good of winter winds, and even though she's half gold, she doesn't fit in with a world of gods, she looks human, she has no powers. And, you know, she, she has formed a very strong attachment to her father who sort of understands her experience better, and who can relate to her, unlike her mother, who finds it very difficult to relate to Maura. And I think like, you know, when when you wrote a book with a with a child who's lonely, and I think a lot of children can respond to that, because she finds a way, you know, she has to learn to relate to others, and she has to learn how to form friendships, and most importantly, how to rely on other people. And, you know, that's a theme that I'm very interested in, because I, you know, I think it's, it's a process much more of an something that we are born with, you know, like, we are a species that really adjusts very well. And we are a species, which is born with a certain level of like, learning how to adapt to other people's kind of expectations, but, but learning to rely on other people requires, I think, a lot of different mental processes. And it's something that even adults often struggle with. So, so that's something that I was quite interested in.

Lilly 14:02

You mentioned grief earlier, and just the horrible loss that Maura is struggling with throughout the book was absolutely heartbreaking, and very touching. And I won't say anymore, because this is not the spoilery section. But we do have some questions about that coming up later. But it's not a spoiler to say that there is quite a bit of Slavic folklore in this novel. Yes, we were wondering, I mean, it's probably an easy question, but where does your inspiration come from?

Gabriela 14:36

Yeah, the ideas shop. You know, so I'm Polish. So I'm a slab so Slavic folklore is something that I grew up with as a very small child. It's something that seems to only really exist important it was very like childhood sphere and I think now there's a bit of a Renee stands where people starting to get more and more interested in it. By I, I kind of, you know, left in early childhood and then moved on to reading other mythologies. You know, like I was very interested in Norse mythology, I was very interested in Greek mythology and Celtic mythology. So I only sort of went back to Slavic folklore as an adult really, and, and I'm actually in a way grateful for this sort of experience of moving away from it and coming back, because I come back to it with a very different perspective and more sort of comparative knowledge about the different mythologies. And that is something that I find really interesting in Slavic folklore. So in terms of the research and various sort of in sources of inspiration, a lot of it is very loosely, you know, so, so there's a creature that inspires me, but you know, the whole sort of ecosystem of that creature is something that I add on, the thing that I'm I try to stay true to is the kind of feel of a mythology, and especially as, as in terms of sort of the facts and the names and all of that. But it's very fluid, because there were no unlike like Norse counterparts, and Celtic counterparts, and sort of obviously, like Greek and Roman mythology is an Egyptian event, there's not an awful lot that we know for certain about Slavic mythology and Slavic, like ancient religion, because all of it was erased when sort of Christianity came quite late to Poland, in sort about about a year like 1000. And the priority wasn't to kind of keep a record or anything, but priority was to sort of Christianize it as quickly as possible. And it was a very brutal process, it was not voluntary. And so it ever, I mean, sometimes it's more kind of gradual, you know, okay, but I think it was a political priority to Christianize those lands and in order to really protect them from from the aspirations of very aggressive neighbors, who would otherwise have an excuse to invade. So the process went quite quickly to sort of try and erase any traces of sort of mythologies, and vote vote stories that were very deeply rooted in a kind of everyday world of a sort of sabich people. Those stories were very, like changed and quite dramatically, so goddesses and good spirits became demons and devils. It's interesting when you compare the stories that seem to have this Slavic folklore stories have this very strong Christian element, so you can see, but they've been heavily adapted, and vote stories that seem to have been preserved in a more or less well, you can say intact that, you know, that doesn't have that very hard ideological angle. So you feel like okay, well, that's sort of closer to the original man, others. So you know, even comparing those two different roots of over folklore and in Poland is it's very interesting process because, like folklore and mythologies really show us the values of a society that they were developed in. And, you know, what was important for people living in that society? What kind of qualities were desirable in the person? How did they relate to the world outside of the community, as well as the role of every individual within the community. And those are dramatically different, whether you look at Norse mythology, whether you look at Egyptian mythology, whether you look, you know, at savate one, so I try to kind of identify the elements that really feel like, intrinsically Slavic to me. And I, I sort of expand on those. So rather than that, certainly staying very close to a particular story of a particular character. I tried to shave them around that sort of feel, like authentic feel, and it's something but it's very difficult to sort of describe, because you're either successful in conveying that feeling or not, it's, you know, you either see it, you know, so that is something that was quite important to me. How do you

Sara 19:18

balance doing that like taking, taking that authentic feel of the character and describing these creatures and gods that your readers have? Likely very different levels of familiarity with?

Gabriela 19:32

Or like non I mean, I don't think it's very the baby the the only difference between what I do and what people do when they describe, I don't know, like do a retelling of Homer or whatever, is that there's like a set text of homework. There's a set text of, you know, like Celtic myths, like, you know, you know, it's you can't take the figure of a polo necessarily Lay and make him for God of, I don't know, builders or

Sara 20:04

whatever, something completely unrelated.

Gabriela 20:06

He was actually quite like inspiring for architects in that example. But anyway, you can make him the gold of harvest, because people who have even for like most passing familiarity with Greek myths they know about Mount Sinai. So I have way more leeway in what I do and how I subvert certain things. But on the other hand, like I don't feel like the reader needs to go into my book with like, having read X, Y, and Zed, because that's not the point of the book, the point of the book is to entertain. And so I am not trying to educate people about Slavic folklore. You know, this is not an academic text, those creatures are there to give that feel to give you like, it's lovely, if people like leave, you know, like finish reading my book, and they feel like oh, you know, what I really want to explore a bit more and like, buy some like this theory or, or some other texts, because they feel like inspired by it. But you know, that is not the primary focus of the book. So the book is led by main characters. And this is the world that they inhabit. And I describe it in the way that you would describe the world of any like fantasy novel already.

Sara 21:21

The wind child after finishing reading it, it really did make me want to go out and read more Slavic folklore and learn more about that. So even if that wasn't your primary goal, I think you succeeded very well at that as well.

Gabriela 21:34

Thank you. I'm very happy to hear it.

Sara 21:36

I have not read the second belt yet. But I understand that there's a lot of Slavic folklore woven into that one as well. Yeah.

Gabriela 21:42

Yes. So the second metal besides Slavic folklore inspired, it's less folklore heavy. So it's, it's very much focused on the community. And there's like one folkloric element that is like at the center of a book, but I kind of subvert it. So like, I took a very different approach with that one. So my next adult book, which I can't name yet, officially, but it's sort of going to come out next year is more folklore heavy in a way of Winchell. But the second bell is like a basically subverts a trope.

Lilly 22:16

So do you have a favorite creature? Or God from folklore?

Gabriela 22:19

You know, I do, actually. I mean, I'd be perfectly honest here. Sometimes if I write a character from Slavic folklore is like, in my head, I can no longer tell which bits I made up

Sara 22:33

the ones that I actually researched.

Gabriela 22:35

So it's kind of hard, but yes, couple characters, Uncle burrow, and Auntie brava who are the forest guardians. And the thing that I really love about them, which is something that is so intrinsic to a lot of Slavic folklore, in my view, is that those creatures are not good or bad in terms of our understanding of them. They are perfectly ambivalent towards human race. And I think we often tend to look at creatures, like sort of folkloric creatures, mythological creatures, and judge them in the context of how they feel about us. Mm hmm. Whereas uncle brava and Auntie brava they are, they're not interested in us. I mean, if we're interlopers, if we come and mess about in the forest, if we tried to hurt one of the creatures on the fire protection, then we're going to come down like, excellent. But that is not the primary goal or motivation. Do I really love that about them? They're, they're sort of this complete ambivalence towards humankind, in this fierceness with which they love and protect our forest. And I think in like, you know, it's Slavic folklore I save especially the kind of pre Christian elements, there's a lot of respect for the natural world. And there's a lot of sense of smell. Quite interestingly, actually, I find that in southern folklore, kindness, and a sense of sort of respect, and like mutuality of respect and empathy, are valued their actual qualities that are desirable in a hero. And so you have in a lot of stories, a character walks into the forest, and you know, there's like a little bird that begs him not to eat him or whatever, and the true hero will feel pity will help you know, even the smallest creature but most like, like a viper, like you will help the creature even if it feels a bit dangerous. So I love that, that there is a sense that we are not necessarily beyond the rulers of the world, that we exist in the world but doesn't exist just for us. That we have to coexist with everything that lives around us.

Lilly 24:52

I think we had some really sort of similarly complex notes on on Savannah, the main character's mother

Gabriela 25:00


Lilly 25:02

I love the way that the book approaches her character as not. I mean, it's she's a very distant mother, but not a bad one, just far away emotionally. And there's a couple of really excellent lines in the book, where Mara's father says that it's not that the Vanna didn't live up to her promises, she never promised that she would be something other than who she is. And I think she has a similar line.

Sara 25:33

Yeah, she she also has a comment about just being herself and never claiming otherwise. But I think that before you got on the call, when Lily and I were making our notes for for this interview, we were talking about davana, and how she's this kind of distant mother, and how, like, if it had been the father figure who was distant in this way, we wouldn't have blinked an eye, you know, like, like, that's very, that's not unusual. And so I think there's a conversation to be had about, like this cultural expectation that the mother is either going to be, you know, this warm, caring character, or the antagonists like the villain, which is not obviously that's not the case with Savannah at all. So yeah, I just it was, it was interesting,

Gabriela 26:20

I think, in conversations about like, different types of motherhood, conversations that have only started happening recently. And this is sort of conversation, sort of, in terms of sort of psychology, what I find really interesting about love language, and it's a term I never heard growing up. But it's, it's something that people kind of recognize as like that. Individuals, and like the people in different communities, they have different love language, they have different way of showing emotion of showing love. It's interesting I was I watched on like, ages ago, on a sort of social media, there was a conversation between a few Southeast Asian people who are talking about how their parents show them affection. And vermin, like there were several people who had the common experience of their father, like, perhaps not necessarily talking to them in a very emotional way. But if they mentioned that, oh, I had like this really nice orange, you know, I really enjoyed this orange, if it will show up with a crate of oranges the next day. So there's like a different ways in which we're taught to show emotion, depending on where we from, what are the cultural norms of where we live, and also like our individual kind of nature. And, you know, some people are very huggy some people show love through, trying to control every aspect of your life. And some people show show love for food or, or just being there, in a very practical sense, perhaps, you know, and it's, that's something that I've been interested in, in terms of, you know, so Mara has this very dual nature, she she, you know, feels closer to her father, who is very affectionate, who is very kind of present emotionally for her, and who interacts with her on a kind of much more intimate level. And she feels like so this is what I need, this is who I am. So she really anchors her sense of identity to her father. But you know, her mother is a part of her to which she sort of, you know, tries to push away for a bit. So her mother is a goddess, right? A very minor goddess, but she's an immortal, and I imagine someone who would live as an immortal, surrounded by immortals, even if you'd like human NESC, they would develop a very different attitude to life, even attitude to language, you know, like, because they have all the time in the world, they don't need like the directness of that is perhaps desirable in someone who's, you know, who, whose lifespan is is not as long and and then, you know, she is herself. And she has this child that she can't relate to, because this child seems to have needs, but even that doesn't actually understand. And it's, it's not that she doesn't try is just that she doesn't know even what she's supposed to try for.

Sara 29:19

I mean, it is very clear that, that she cares about her daughter, she just doesn't know, like, how to express that and how to interact with her and in the way that Maura needs her to.

Lilly 29:31

When we get near the end of that that section of the book. There's sort of the moment where you realize that she has been basically sacrificing herself in order to stay with Maura. And I thought that was very touching.

Gabriela 29:43

When she didn't have much of a choice. I wasn't allowed to go back. But But yeah, I mean, it's the cost, right? It's about the sort of, like, there's always this invisible cost in And what you know when what we get from people, and we don't see what it takes for them to get it. Sometimes, you know, if if we have a friend perhaps who's always there to listen and always supportive, and we kind of grow to really rely on that. And it becomes very easy to forget that like somebody else is taking on all of that emotional burden for our sake for the for the love that we have for us if it's not cost free. And I think people often forget that.

Lilly 30:34

Well, I ended up really loving this event. For the for the moment she was in the

Gabriela 30:39

book, you will meet her again, don't worry. Oh, good, good.

Lilly 30:45

Sarah, why should you read this book,

Sara 30:48

you should read this book, if you enjoy Slavic folklore, if you like to see characters develop, and learn more about themselves and learn how to rely on other people. And it doesn't matter if you're a child, or if you're an adult, I think you could read this book at any age and enjoy it. I certainly have enjoyed it. So yeah, that's why you should read this book.

Lilly 31:10

Spoilers skip to 40 seconds.

Sara 31:22

You've mentioned or you mentioned earlier that you don't really plan out your books, per se. Were there any scenes that surprised you when you were writing the wind child? Oh, fun.

Gabriela 31:31

Yeah. I mean, you know, you have a character, enter a scene or enter a problem with a limited number of resources at their disposal, and you have to find a solution even if they do. So that's a bit I find really exciting about writing in the sort of discovery mode because you really kind of inhabit this character. And you feel frustrated when they feel frustrated, and you're trying to sort of find a way forward. And so when there was a scene where we're looking for Breon so this is what people who've already read the book, right? So I Okay, so I don't

Sara 32:07

have to no holds barred. Yeah.

Gabriela 32:10

So when they're trying to find the island boy, Yan, and Mara is basically on top of turneffe Who's paddling through the sea? And we're trying to solve the riddle, right? It's like, because it's a place between is and isn't. And, you know, she kind of has to read like, I spent a while like thinking about it. And I just kind of, I don't know if I like I might have made up this. Like, I found the name of like, the island of weon. Somewhere in like my one of my Psycho PVS Slavic mythologies. But it might I might have taken that phrase somewhere between isn't isn't in some way. I might have paraphrased that. I don't know if I made it up, or I stole it from somewhere. I have no idea. But I was thinking like, I have committed to this vague description of it. And how can I kind of build on that? How can I find the like the solution problem, so we're, we're in the water, like a limited timeframe. We can't paddle forever. And then you have those moments of clarity when you like, well, it's also about her identity. It's about who she is. And this is her family after all right. So Brianna's Island created by her uncle to go to summer wins. So she has voted to nature's in her and she has access to vote to sort of sides of her family through her blood. And you know, when in doubt, the blood is always solution, basically.

Lilly 33:39

Yeah. Oh, tornado, though, I do need to talk about tornadoes, of course, because he, so he is morose. But I would only friend, best friend, only friend that we see at least in the book,

Gabriela 33:53

but he deserves a title of best friend as well. Yeah,

Lilly 33:57

I agree. Because he is he's such, like, he does so much for her. And I am kind of toward, like, he kind of goes through a lot to help Maura, but he also does get this cool adventure out of it. And I can't really decide if he's a tragic character, or if he got as much out of the adventure as he put into it. I don't know, I can't.

Gabriela 34:21

I think they really need each other. So we're, you know, we're both very lonely children. And they both have a dual identity. I'll be his is without a sort of magical element to it. So he grows up with a very loving father, but he's an outcast because of his absent mother, who is of you know, both Trish origin and the society of Prasanna but all over the country like rejects that sort of ethnic minority that his mother is from. And so he grows up not only not having access to that His mother's culture, and only receiving everything like bad that comes with, you know, having that heritage. And so when he sees Mara, who has that kind of other elements as well, he feels for first time just kind of commonality that allows for a building of a bone and the fact that she responds to his sort of, you know, friendship overtures and invites, she sort of stands up for him, and also has a deeper understanding of where he's coming from, even if she doesn't quite know how to be a friend to begin with. So that is something that he maybe didn't even know, but how much he needed when he met Matt. And he has a need for this like, kind of being special and bugbear scheme that he gets. And so on the one hand, it's meant to be this, like over sacrifice, you know, it hurts when he transforms himself into a bear. But he relies on it like to kind of have this sense of like, oh, this makes me special. And of course, Tordoff is a very special boy, by any definition, but he doesn't necessarily feel that and I think we, you know, very often try and build our sense of self around like a particular element of identity. And, and in general, like, I think, you know, I did sense like identity is such a fluid concept. And I think people like to think that's something that's quite fixed and like sort of individual to us. But in reality, people's identities shift over time. And you know, depending Coover around where they live, and I think for torn if that sense of self shifts, as well. And Mara, definitely, because of course, she she sort of learns that she is not just human as much as she wanted, maybe to be, at a certain point. She doesn't even fit within her very loving human family. She She She understands on a very basic level, but she doesn't really fit in there. And she thinks that maybe if she if she accomplishes this task, maybe if she brings her father back, then she will fit in, you know, she'll come back the conquering hero as well with her beloved father, and all of that will somehow make all the other stuff go away. There's the stuff that's complicated about her. Yeah, so So I think they kind of learn to sort of find their sense of self and who they are in each other and kind of build on that. Because you always like sort of build your sense of self on, you know, on your relationships with other people, how they relate to you. And we so often, like build our sense of self based on other people how other people see us, you know, so it's like an external thing. So, yeah, I think all of those elements mean that like, you know, Turner was like an essential part of this journey. Absolutely.

Lilly 37:57

I know, I just My heart hurts for him so much. And I like, I don't know, it feels like he goes through hell, for Mara's kind of harebrained scheme. I, I don't know. I hope. I hope he feels like it was worth it. And I can't tell if it is, but maybe we'll find the next one. Oh, there we go. Anyway, so there were two things in this book that Sara and I were like, really expecting to go one way, and then it ended up going a very different direction. One of them we had plans to talk about and the other one I thought of during this,

Gabriela 38:38

but that's always very interesting to hear. So

Sara 38:41

the first thing that we both expected to happen was we both thought that Maura would make it in time to at least speak with her father, if not, like outright save him. And that obviously does not happen at all, like she is just completely too late. Well, basically completely too late. And she doesn't get to have like a final conversation with him or, or anything. And that just really subverted our expectations.

Gabriela 39:07

You know, she she gets to see more on people see anyway, which is that there's a sort of a rest and another beginning there's like a natural circle to things in him.

Sara 39:21

I mean, it felt like an ending that needed to happen. Like she was less than that she needed to learn. And so it was very satisfying. It just was not what I was expecting to happen at all.

Gabriela 39:33

I guess. I think, you know, I think it would be because I you know, I know you know, I'm writing about grief for children. And so that has to be handled with care and I think it would be emotionally dishonest for me to offer any other ending to this. Because we are there are so many choices. During the people who go for grief, you know, they lose their grandparents, you know, sometimes they're less. But you know, that, you know, unfortunately parents too, you know, they lose all kinds of people who are close to them. And they don't get to say goodbye, you know, the lie one last time, if they don't give you the option of bringing them back, and Mara is avoiding her grief by choosing action to issue goes on this adventure, because she feels like, you know, I can undo this. And I think it's a very important lesson in life, if that were sometimes sad things would happen, but we can stop. And in there he, you know, twist away that is okay. Because that is just the way life is, you know, there's all aspects of life that we need to kind of accept these things happen. And you know, you can either choose to sort of move on from it, or to serve dwell on it, but that doesn't. That never helps. So I don't think it could have had a different ending and remained honest. Yeah. And respectful of the process that she was going through. Yeah, no, I

Sara 41:05

absolutely agree with you. Just like I said, I was I was surprised.

Gabriela 41:11

I think on the level like we all hope for like, yeah. Well, it couldn't have been.

Lilly 41:17

My other one is much less thoughtful than that. But I was really surprised. We never actually saw, Oh, I shouldn't have brought this up. Because now I have to try to pronounce

Gabriela 41:28

cost cost to cache the deathless

Lilly 41:32

crochet. Yes, the Deathless, he sort of is mentioned quite a bit in the novel.

Gabriela 41:38

Yeah. No. So basically, like, it's part of a geology. Right. When child it has not been announced yet, officially, so I can't say But yeah, that is that setup that sort of final arc. So don't worry, you'll get your chance. Yeah.

Lilly 41:55

When Mara is falling in something with wings catches her. I was like, there he is. Cuz I think he's described as having wings. Yeah, I thought that was gonna be

Gabriela 42:05

it was not that close to the end of a book.

Sara 42:11

I mean, when you're reading an ebook, you don't always know how close to the end

Lilly 42:14

you are. That's true. I could have had another 500 Pages for all I knew, I would have happily

Sara 42:19

read another 500 pages.

Gabriela 42:22

I mean, it would have made for a very atypical middle grade novel. But

Lilly 42:27

yeah, that was my like, I had that lightbulb moment. And I was just completely wrong about that, no, the having the I don't remember her name. But the character who does catch her and ends up sort of actually helping Maura deal with her emotional journey was very sweet. And then her triumphant reunion with Tor NIV, who is the best?

Gabriela 42:53

Yes, I mean, most of belong together. Really. I think if this idea of having those like very close friendships, it's something that is not interestingly enough, like I thought that it was like normal for kids, like adults to have this like best friend sort of figure in their lives. But it's, it's less common that I used to think but it's such an important aspect of sort of life in general, like friendships. And I think people often undervalue them in terms of they think that like, old friendships are almost something that you do in your 20s. And then, like, you have a family and you kind of meet people, you know, once a year or something. And I think, I think it's like it's been proven like scientifically, that people who have very close friends who they see regularly are much happier and more satisfied with life and people who, who do not want any sort of stick to the nuclear family.

Lilly 43:53

So you're saying it's scientifically proven that Dungeons and Dragons is good for you?

Gabriela 43:58

I mean, by extension, I imagine so yes.

Lilly 44:01

Oh, that's because that's the only time I see people.

Gabriela 44:04

I mean, I don't have the facts and figures if I can make this very uneducated. gasps

Sara 44:10


Gabriela 44:12

We'll stick to it. Yeah.

Sara 44:14

So I did have one more question that you've kind of already answered. And I'm not sure because you said that you're the second book isn't officially announced yet. So I'm not sure if I can officially ask this on the podcast.

Gabriela 44:27

Yeah, I'm not sure either. Okay, you know what, nobody, nobody's going to like crucify me for it. That's fine. I mean, I won't give too much like I won't give any spoilers obviously. Yeah,

Sara 44:39

yeah. But and like I said, you basically have already answered this But reading the book, I was thinking, Oh, this ending really leaves open the possibility for a sequel with Mara and torn of talking about like going to find her human soul and defeating crochet. So did you have any plans to write that? Obviously, the answer is yes. You are. One after

Gabriela 44:59

the other. Did you it's a geology. So it feels very complete. So you have this sort of individual arcs per each book. But there's a bigger overarching arc that needs to be kind of answered and tied up. And that's where we're sort of the second book comes in, and I actually I wrote them together to my agents, frustration, I can't stop you. But there's always a worry, obviously, if you write more than one volume, and the publisher doesn't, you know, doesn't sell enough for the first one to pick up the second one, or something. But luckily, in this case, people seem to like it. So sort of a second one's gonna come as well. And then you'll have your complete story.

Sara 45:41

That makes me very happy because I do want to read more about Marlon tornos adventures.

Lilly 45:48

And I want to meet co che. Do you? I do, because I'm safe on the other side

Gabriela 45:57

doesn't sound like a kind of person you would actually want to

Lilly 46:00

know. But through a book, I want to meet everybody.

Sara 46:06

And you also mentioned that we get to see more as if Anna? Yeah, I'm excited for that, too.

Gabriela 46:12

Yes, I think I'll be very interested to hear and what you think about Zevon us journey? And what sort of what we see of her the other sides we see of her? Like, I liked what you said, like I thought you had quite like a nuanced view of Savannah. And like, well, because that is what I intended in terms of this sense that she is not a bad mother. She is just who she is. She's She's a distant mother, but she's not intentionally, you know, she, she, she doesn't seek to harm her. She's not cruel. She's just visit just how she is by nature. And I think there's more of that. And I think in so in the Second Volume, I think you'll see more of like how Mara comes to understand her mother a bit more. Because I think there is definitely still this barrier in the first book of Mara, maybe not having that more complex view of her mother. Like she understands how her mother thinks, but she doesn't understand how her mother relates to her, necessarily, so she still sees herself as very separate from her mother.

Lilly 47:13

Well, I can't wait.

Sara 47:14

Yes, I'm excited.

Gabriela 47:17

I'm so excited to it's just like, I can't wait for it to come out. So you know, I can actually chat to people about It's always such a lovely part of the process, you know, once the book is out, and then then people have questions, and then you can discuss the process. It's such a pleasure.

Lilly 47:34

Well, hopefully, we can talk to you about it soon.

Sara 47:40

We've talked a little bit about the second duology that you're working on, or the second book and this duality that you're working on. But you also mentioned that you were working on another adult novel. Yes. Don't know how much you can tell us about that, if anything, but if there's anything you can tell us about it.

Gabriela 47:57

I mean, my publisher gave me an okay to talk about during the first event. So I mean, I don't know if it translates into talking about on like a podcast that's available anywhere. But yeah, it's very clear, there will be an adult book coming out late next year from angry robot as well. Not to sort of give away too many details. But it is also like very heavily relies on sort of themes of motherhood, but like in, in a slightly different way in a kind of like, you know, what would you do to keep your child

Sara 48:34

is it a standalone novel?

Gabriela 48:36

Yeah, it's a it's a standalone. Yes, it's completely a standalone novel. And it's, I mean, the second bill is an adult novel and second mother, daughter team, really, but the bone roots, the main two characters are the kind of mid to late 40s. And it's very much very journey.

Sara 48:55

I'm excited for

Gabriela 48:56

that to the DACA. So I like that thing.

Sara 49:03

Okay, now I think is the time for you to plug your your Social Media Pro

Gabriela 49:07

my social media, oh my God, my social media, I

Sara 49:11

tell people where they can buy your book. And

Gabriela 49:13

I mean, for announcements, I do my announcement. On Twitter. I don't really interact with the world on Twitter anymore. Apart from like, if people actually send me a message or like tag me. Yeah, but I do do announcements on Twitter. So it's at Gabriela Houston. So if you're interested in anything I have coming out or any events I'm doing, I put it on there. I also have an Instagram account that feels like a happier space to me. So I say I'm on there more ads, Gabriella Houston one, and I will also away I also have a website, which I get to mention. Yeah, it's Gabriela I just I really make it easy to find me.

Lilly 49:57

I was gonna say I'll remember that one. Yeah,

Gabriela 50:01

It's on the Instagram but it's like a Gabriela Houston one. Well, thank you so much

Lilly 50:06

for talking to us about the wind child today.

Gabriela 50:10

Glad pleasure. My pleasure. Yeah, it's it's, you ladies have like some great questions and it was really lovely chatting with you about it. I'm glad you enjoyed that as well. That's That's key.

Sara 50:25

And I'm really looking forward to reading the second pile. I've owned it for ages. I just haven't had the time to read it yet, but I will.

Gabriela 50:34

You know, hopefully allow it like jump in the double pile

Sara 50:42

to the top of my TBR for sure.

Gabriela 50:44

I mean, I'm being presumptuous. But

Sara 50:54

thank you so much for listening to this episode of fiction fans.

Lilly 50:57

Come disagree with us. We are on Twitter and Instagram at fiction fans pod. You can also email us at fiction fans

Sara 51:08

If you enjoyed the episode, please rate and review on Spotify and Apple podcasts and follow us wherever your podcasts live.

Lilly 51:15

Thanks again for listening and may your villains always be defeated

Sara 51:20


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