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An interview with Ele Fountain about Lost and her favourite adventure books for kids

Lost by Ele Fountain. Book cover and author photograph.

What inspired you to write Lost and why did you choose to tell the story from Lola’s point of view?

The idea that a few misfortunes can lead to the loss of your home seems unlikely for many of us, but millions of children experience exactly that, every year. In LOST, I wanted to write a story connecting these realities. Lola has no control over the events which change her life. I wrote the story from her point of view so that the reader can step into her shoes as the rollercoaster begins, and feel what she is feeling.

Lola’s city is described so vividly in the book, but you don’t name it. Did you have a particular place in mind when you were writing it?

I did have a place in mind. I don’t name it because I really wanted the reader to focus on how the events in the story are affecting Lola and her choices. Also, Lola’s story could happen in many countries, not just the one in which LOST is set.

Have you thought about what happens to Lola and her family after the book has ended?

I believe that we all have enormous strength within us. I also believe that acts of kindness, however small, can make a huge difference. Lola has found her inner strength – and kindness – so I feel very hopeful for Lola and her family, whatever the future may throw at them.

Do you have a favourite place to write

My desk is currently a home-schooling-hub, so I write anywhere I can snatch a quiet half hour - in the kitchen, sitting on the floor in the dining room, perched at the edge of my desk surrounded by schoolbooks.

Why did you choose to write books for children?

It was never a choice for me. I have worked with books for over twenty years now, first as an editor, then as an author, always for children. They are the most brilliant and honest critics, and therefore children’s books are always THE BEST.

What was your favourite book as a child?

I loved The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. Such brilliant characters… so tense!

Which other adventure stories for kids would you recommend to our subscribers?

I have recently read and loved The Girl Who Stole an Elephant by Nizrana Farook and The Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha Farrant.

If you had to leave your house quickly, what would you take with you and why?

Some chocolate, a pen, and a copy of Swallows and Amazons. The chocolate would be my emergency food supply, I would have something to read if I found myself alone, and a pen to write stories around the margin of the book - or to write messages for someone to find me. And if everything turned out OK, then I would still be able to read one of my favourite books while eating chocolate… and holding a pen.

Look out for Ele's new book, Melt, publishing in April 2021. In the meantime, grab a copy of Lost, along with our fun-filled activity pack, here.

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