Aisha Bushby’s debut novel – A Pocketful of Stars – was published in 2019 and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal.
A year later, Moonchild: Voyage and the Lost and Found was released and delighted readers of all ages with its epic sense of adventure.
With the second novel in the series out next month, we sat down to discuss the books, writing in a pandemic and much more.
Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming book Moonchild: City of the Sun
Moonchild: City of the Sun is out on 29th April and is the companion novel to Moonchild: Voyage of the Lost and Found, which came out last summer. The latter focuses on moon magic, based on emotions, and the former is all about sun magic, and how it and logic balance the moon and emotions.
I won’t give too much away as it’ll spoil the first, but the books feature narrators (each told from the perspective of a different character) as well as short stories inspired by The Arabian Nights.
How did your writing process differ between this and your first two books?
The main difference is I wrote this book during the pandemic, which had an interesting effect on my writing. I remember having a call with my editor and she (in a very tactful way) pointed out that my characters were quite hopeless about their plight throughout, and the book ended up being quite a bleak read. There were chapters full of existential woe while my characters walked through a claustrophobic tunnel, which looking back now I find a little amusing. But I think it reflected how I was feeling at the time, as I found it harder to step outside of myself and imagine another world. But eventually, with several drafts under our belts, we got there.
What is the first piece of fiction you ever remember writing?
A story about a dog called ‘Lucky’ who was gifted to a family as a Christmas present and eventually abandoned. I think I’d learned the phrase ‘a dog isn’t just for Christmas’ and went from there. I typed it up on the computer, printed it out, and drew companion illustrations. (I cannot draw, for the record).
Which of your minor characters do you think deserve a novel of their own?
I’d love a novel based on Amira’s mothers from Moonchild. The love story of how they met and sailed around the world together, but I wouldn’t be the one to write it. I’d just love to read it.
Which song would be the perfect soundtrack to Moonchild: City of the Sun’s closing scene?
It would have to be ‘Daylight’ by Taylor Swift, which I think is an obvious but fitting choice.
Which novel (other than your own) do you think would make a great TV adaptation?
So many, but I think I’d have to go for Jaz Santos V.s. The World by Priscilla Mante, which is out on 27th May. It’s about a girl who creates her own football team as a way to save her parents’ marriage. It has a host of wonderful characters and moments, and scenes that would work so well on the screen.
You can also buy Aisha’s first two novels – A Pocketful of Stars and Moonchild: Voyage of the Lost and Found – from Waterstones here.