The very first Nim’s Island

People often ask how I got the idea for Nim’s Island. Well, it started when I was 8 or 9. We were living in a town on the Canadian prairies, in Alberta, but my grandparents lived on Vancouver Island – so when we went to visit them we had to go on a ferry. On the way we passed a tiny little island. It was probably too small to build a house on it, but I thought, I’d love to live on an island, all by myself.’

ImageSo when we went home I started writing a story called Spring Island, about a little girl who runs away from an orphanage and ends up on a little island. Then a little boy runs away from his orphanage and ends up there with her. (I think they were orphans because I’d just read Anne of Green Gables, and Anne is an orphan. Even though you should never copy someone else’s work, we all get ideas from reading other books!)

Years later, when a couple of girls wrote and asked if I could write a book about them, I said No, because I didn’t know them or their stories, and that’s not how I work. But it started me thinking, ‘What if a girl wrote to an author, and the author said, “I can’t write your story because I’m a famous adventure writer, and you’re just a little girl!’ But what if the little girl’s life was much more exciting than the author’s… 

ImageI knew right away that the reason the little girl’s life was more interesting than the author’s was because she lived on an island. And after I wrote the book about 12 times, I finally remembered the story I’d written when I was nine  – and suddenly  came to life. 

Of course there were lots of changes, (the little boy changed into Jack, Nim’s dad), but that was the seed. 

Have you ever wanted to live somewhere really different from where you do now? Maybe you should try writing a story about it…ImageImage



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