Here is the second half of Anna's thoughtful interview, in which she discusses how her own experiences and her own surroundings have impacted her creative endeavors.
Don't forget to check out part one here.
You still have your childhood piano. Do you feel your parents’ support of artistic expression ultimately impacted your ability to pursue writing as an adult?
Anna Branford: My parents are both creative people in different ways from each other, and in different ways from me. My father has a very scientific mind but he also works with his hands, mainly building furniture and other useful things, so the soundtrack of my early life was one of hammering, sawing and drilling. My mother’s creativity has more of a visual focus and she often added the whir of a hand-turned Singer sewing machine to the cacophony. One Christmas that we spent in a country with nothing festive for sale, she created everything for us – decorations and gifts – from paper, one of her own nighties, and any other bits and pieces that were available to her. It was perfect. So it was very normal in our home for quite a few things to exist in the evening that hadn’t been there that morning. I think my own creative endeavors were just a part of that same flow.
Lily and her family live close to nature, as you did as a child and continue to as an adult. Are there any autobiographical qualities found in the Lily the Elf stories?
AB: Certainly there are. Lily’s world is full of tangled mossy roots and rainwater and birdsong and all the other things I love best. But I think the most autobiographical component of the Lily stories is just that Lily is a quiet sort of elf, inclined to spend quite a bit of time lost in her own thoughts and doing her own thing, which is very much as I am. In fact, I would struggle a bit to write a story about an outgoing, confident, noisy creature, because I can’t quite imagine what that would be like.
AB: Thank you for reading my blog! Even though I have just the fondness for beautiful, natural places you’ve noted, and escape into them as often as I can, I actually live in quite an ordinary modern city. So one of the sparks for the Lily the Elf series is the search for the magical, beautiful places hiding in urban spaces. Children, I think, are often very good at finding them, and turning a small suburban park into a great wilderness, or a balcony garden into a place of mystery and magic. It’s something I love doing too, and can be a wonderful way of experiencing the familiar as majestic.
Take a look at all of the books in the Lily the Elf series: The Midnight Owl, The Precious Ring, The Wishing Seed and The Elf Flute!
You can find Anna Branford online at www.annabranford.com.
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