I am beyond honoured to be hosting a guest post by Cornelia Funke today. Cornelia is the author of Inkheart, one of my all time favourite books, which shaped me so much when I was younger. I really don’t think I’d be the reader I am now without Inkheart, so it’s surreal to be sharing a post with you!
Cornelia: When I left Inkworld to step through a mirror, I upset quite a few of my readers. Writers should stick to the world they created and feed the addiction they created for that world with as many books as possible! It took me a few years to realize that in fact I hadn’t left Inkworld behind. I just revisited it 500 years later. But….let’s start at the beginning.
I remember that while editing Inkdeath I had grown quite tired of the baroque storytelling this world demanded being inspired by medieval times. There was a sudden longing for another pace, a leaner language, a more modern setting, closer to the world surrounding us. But it didn’t take shape until I worked with a British friend, Lionel Wigram, on a possible movie adaptation of E.T. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker. Lionel was as much in love with the 19th century as I with the 13th and 14th. I blame him and E.T.Hoffmann that I became infatuated with it too – with the century when our modern times finally and irrevocably hatch. When man announces to be god and sets out to recreate the world.
What if….I thought, while we played with Nutcrackers and Rat soldiers….what if there was a world resembling this defining century (maybe around 1860) in which all our fairy tales are historical fact? How would the existence of magical objects, of witches, gingerbread houses and seven miles boots change the course of colonial endeavours, of kingdoms and revolutions?
When I asked Lionel to use the world we had stumbled upon for a book, he gave his permission gladly. With one request: that he’d be allowed to discuss the plot and characters with me, while I’d of course do the writing.
We worked like that on Book 1. We found the first mirror, took the first steps behind it together, working in English and German, the language I still write in. It was an exhausting and utterly inspiring process, questioning the way I approach a story in profound and often unexpected ways. For Book 2 we still had quite a few very inspiring discussions, but by then Lionel’s work as a movie producer claimed so much of his time that I mostly travelled alone behind the mirrors. Since Book 3 the stories are based solely based on my adventures in that world.
In fact I know so much about it by now that I just revised Book 1 adding all the knowledge I gained about my heroes, the Mirrors and the world they reveal. I plan to write at least another three, as so far I only made it to Kasakhstan and there is so much fairy tale territory to explore still. But – stories don’t stick to plans in my experience. And this one surprised and tricked me so often in the past eight years that I am sure I don’t know half of his secrets.
Thank you so much to Cornelia Funke for the great insight into your writing!