An Interview with Lindsay Galvin - author of MY FRIEND THE OCTOPUS!

Posted by Jazz on Tuesday May 31st, 2022

The release of MY FRIEND THE OCTOPUS is just around the corner ...

And to celebrate, we caught up bestselling author Lindsay Galvin to get the low-down on all things octopus! If you're interested in finding out all about how Vinnie Fyfe and her octopus friend came to be, keep on reading ...

For those who know nothing about your upcoming adventure, how would you describe My Friend the Octopus?

Set in 1893, My Friend The Octopus is my second historical adventure with an animal at its heart, this time featuring Vinnie, a girl who finds herself staying with an aunt she barely knows at a seafront terrace teashop above Brighton aquarium. She starts investigating the disappearance of her mother, while also making a unique friend in the biggest octopus England has ever seen. It’s a twisty mystery with a truly toxic villain and some unlikely heroes. Also featuring, art, journalism, child-labour, cake and poison ...

What made you want to base this book in Brighton?

I was brought up just 10 miles along the coast from Brighton and have now settled there with my own family, so it’s lovely to write about somewhere local. I knew I wanted to write a book about an octopus but it was tricky to know where to set it. I’ve always loved the slightly faded glamour of the seaside town, and when I discovered that our local aquarium, now Brighton Sea Life Centre, is the oldest working aquarium in the world, the story grew from there. It provided me with so many fascinating Victorian settings to provide a backdrop to mystery, peril and adventure; from behind the scenes at the aquarium, to bathing machines, the teashop, beach and secret chalk tunnels.

Your previous story, Darwin’s Dragons, is a fan-favourite here at Chicken House! Is there anything you did differently when writing My Friend the Octopus compared to your other historical story?

Believe it or not, when I started writing Darwin’s Dragons, I didn’t know it was going to be a historical story! The idea for a dragon discovery by Charles Darwin’s cabin boy was originally backstory, but gradually took over from the main story and I found out I loved writing historical fiction. So the process was quite different with My Friend The Octopus as I planned it as historical so I had a clear idea about the research needed right from the offset. It flowed relatively easily, even though the plotting was more complex with various strands to the mystery.

Do you have any plans for future books?

So many, my typing fingers can’t keep up with my imagination. I’m currently drafting my third historical animal focussed adventure which is out in 2023 — all I can say is this story features the sea once again, plus one of my favourite and most beloved animals...and it is very icy!

What is your best advice for aspiring writers?

Probably to read a lot, and keep writing. Have faith in the ideas you are passionate about, because passion and fascination shows up on the page. You might hear a lot of different opinions on how to write but there isn’t one right way, so it is important you don’t listen to any comments or advice that make you want to give up. Good advice makes you want to write more, and writing more is the best way to improve.  If you are writing, you are already a writer, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!





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