An interview with: Lindsay Galvin
There's less than one week to go until Call of the Titanic hits the shelves ...
And to celebrate, best-selling author Lindsay Galvin shares what inspired her to write about the Titanic, and gives her best advice for aspiring middle-grade writers! Check out our interview below ...
What inspired you to write a story about the Titanic?
Back in 2016 I visited Belfast and the Titanic Experience, an epic museum, built in the size and shape of Titanic. I was fascinated, especially when I head the distress messages the ship sent by morse code, but knew I wouldn’t attempt to write about the infamous disaster unless I could come up with a really fresh storyline. Years later I found a 1912 article about a Newfoundland dog Rigel who was reported to have been on the Titanic but probably wasn’t, and I thought that was a great angle. But it wasn’t until I researched the Carpathia — the ship that raced through the icy night to rescue the Titanic survivors — that I knew I had something original enough. When I discovered the Carpathia’s Captain had made sightings of mythical sea serpents, I had all the elements to write Call of the Titanic!
How has writing this book felt different than writing your others, if at all?
Writing this book was a more intense experience than my others. The sheer amount of information, fiction and film about Titanic, made it feel quite daunting to research. I knew I wanted to make the scenes about the Titanic sinking to be as factual as possible so I based it on multiple survivors testimonies and they were so moving and sad to read! It also has a tight timeline, with much of the action taking place over 24 hours. I followed this to the letter as I've used the actual distress messages sent out by the telegraph operators on board. But right at the end of the process I had to rejig the timeline as I discovered 'Titanic Time’ was different from ’New York time’ and my sources used both! That took a bit of wrangling, to make sure it was as authentic as it could be, but I got there in the end with a bit of a hand from my publishing team.
What character would you say you relate to the most?
It would have to be Clara, mainly because I love my dog as much as she loves hers! She’s quite flawed, a bit spoilt, but really brave and forthright. She was delicious fun to write, and hopefully to read — which is important, as she is on the Carpathia, and the mischief she gets up to with Rigel the dog plus her involvement in the rescue mission is the uplifting side needed to hopefully balance out the darkness of the disaster.
What advice do you have for budding middle-grade historical fiction writers?
Choose something to write about that you are fascinated by, your enthusiasm will filter to your readers. Two main things to avoid are confusion and boredom so simplify, be clear and make sure every scene moves the story forward or develops character — ideally both.
But most importantly, don’t listen to any advice that makes you want to write less, only to that which inspires you... there’s absolutely no right or wrong way to write any book!
Please sum up Call of the Titanic in three words.
Only three? Disaster, Survival, Friendship.
To learn more about Lindsay Galvin, click here.
To buy Call to the Titanic, click here.