This month we sent our Cockatoo subscribers the wonderful The Boy Who Hit Play, a quirky, touching tale that explores our sense of identity, the power of sound, and the role of social media in the lives of young people. Here we quiz author Chloe Daykin about what inspired the book and her writing routine:
What inspired you to write The Boy Who Hit Play?
I wanted to write a mysterious adventure that took readers on a journey to a new and exciting land. Not everyone can go on holiday, but everyone can travel through books. I wanted to offer that freedom and sense of adventure to all readers. I also wanted the book to be a quest for identity as I think that’s an interesting and important thing to think about at all ages - ‘what makes me who I am’ and ‘who do I want to be?’
What research did you do for the book? Did you go to Norway?
Yes! I was very happy and honoured to win the inaugural Julia Darling Travel Fellowship award and used the money to travel around Norway meeting all sorts of people in all kinds of places! I went all the way up to the Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Circle on a sleeper train, swam in the Arctic Sea, stayed in a house tied down with chains so it didn’t blow away in the wind and nearly set a log cabin on fire! (But that’s another story!)
How and why did you pick the names for the characters in the book? Why Elvis and George Lucas?
I picked these names as those people are so famous (George Lucas being the writer/director of Star Wars etc). A central theme of the book is who is it important to be important to. Millions of people you don’t actually know? Or a few close ones you mean all the world to? I think that’s become particularly important with social media and YouTube, which Elvis (in the story) is a fan of.
Do you have a favourite place to write?
Indeed, I do! I used to have a caravan. Which is very cosy and lovely in the spring and summer. But got so cold in the winter that I used to have scrape the ice off the windows - then a wonderful family lent me their lovely little cottage and so now I write there. (There really are such kind fantastic people in the world, the Bently family are such people). I love writing on a big double bed, so I’m comfy with lots of space to spread out my books and as big a window as possible. Light is really important to me. Plus, I bring my cats! Their furry cuddly company is very important!
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Hmm. I think I’d run a bookshop café by the sea somewhere with amazing cakes and brilliant authors coming to visit.
What was your favourite book as a child?
When I was little, I loved Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Beverly Cleary is such a great writer. When I was even littler, I loved Michael Rosen's You Can’t Catch Me!, and Funny Bones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg when I was even littler still… I love books with an emotional heart, a sense of rhythm and that make me laugh!