1. The character’s name, Apple, is the name of my hairdresser. The character’s surname, Apostolopoulou, is my best friend’s surname.
2. The dog’s name in Apple and Rain is Derry. I named him after the city where my dad lives in Northern Ireland.
3. Although the location has been invented, I used Southend as a sort of sketch for my fictional town. This meant several visits to the seaside and lots of fish and chips.
4. After reading my book, a fan emailed to ask me if I’d seen Lars and the Real Girl. I hadn’t, so I watched it. It’s about a man who believes that a blow up doll is his girlfriend. I realised then that something glaring was missing from my novel: Ryan Gosling.
5. The cover of the novel is illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail. Yasmeen and I are now constantly running into one another at awards and festivals. It was clearly meant to be.
6. I wrote the novel in several places including a NYC coffee shop, the Barbican Library, on several planes and trains, in a spare bedroom, and finally in a specially built office at the end of my garden.
7. I couldn’t move forwards with this novel until I got the first chapter spot-on. It probably took me two or three months of sketching before I got it right, and then the rest of the novel simply spilled out of me.
8. The most fun part of writing this novel was choosing which poems to include and then making up my own responses to them, especially to the “Jabberwocky” poem.
9. Apart from Apple, my favourite character is Del. I loved writing his scenes and I definitely needed his humour after all the trauma with Apple and her mum.
10. Apple and Rain is, in many ways, a response to how readers reacted to The Weight of Water. So many people were intimidated by the novel because it’s in verse though when they gave it a go, they didn’t find it hard at all. In Apple and Rain I try to show that if we read poetry with our hearts and not our minds, we will enjoy it a lot more and might even start to feel we own it a little bit.
Published in hardback in August 2014, Apple and Rain has already been shortlisted for The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards and nominated for the Carnegie Medal. It explores the bond between mothers and daughters, and the power of forgiveness. The stunning cover is the work of fellow Irish talent, Yasmeen Ismail.
When Apple’s mother returns after eleven years of
absence, Apple feels whole again. She will have an answer to her burning question – why did you go? And she will have someone who understands what it means to be a teenager – unlike Nana. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother’s homecoming is bitter sweet, and Apple wonders who is really looking after whom. It’s only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is, that she begins to see things as they really are.
Sarah’s love of poetry, and her skill in making it accessible for readers of all ages and abilities, shone in The Weight of Water. In this new book its presence is subtle, but just as poignant. A moving, perceptive and beautifully crafted story which has the power to make you laugh and cry.
Sarah Crossan’s debut book, The Weight of Water, won The Eilís Dillon Award for a First Children’s Book (CBI Book of the Year Awards), the We Read Prize, a Coventry Inspiration Book Award and a UKLA Book Award. It was also shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the CLPE Poetry Award.
About the Author
Sarah Crossan is originally from Dublin. She graduated with a degree in philosophy and literature before training as an English and drama teacher at Cambridge University and has been working to promote creative writing in schools since. She taught English at a small private school near New York until she became a full time writer. She completed her Masters in creative writing at the University of Warwick in 2003 and in 2010 received an Edward Albee Fellowship for writing.
Sarah is also the author of Breathe and Resist. Look out for One, publishing August 2015.