Thursday, 6 August 2009

Kara May's Blog


‘Where do you get your ideas?’ Always a tricky question for me – even before I finish a book or a play I’ve forgotten what triggered it. Baffling, but true. The Dream Snatcher is an exception. When the council compulsorily purchased our beloved Victorian house for a pittance, I vowed I’d write a story about a town consumed by greed and obsessed with shopping.

When eventually I came to write the story, the first character to appear was the Dream Snatcher – mysterious, dangerous, with a secret longing. Having an adult male protagonist, I needed a child for readers to identify with. A girl without parents is more in command of her life so like many child protagonists in children’s fiction Jodie is an orphan.

I was about two thirds though the story when I realised I’d given Jodie an impossible dilemma – she must choose between saving her skin and saving her town from the Dream Snatcher’s wrath because the people failed to keep their side of a deal.

If I’d planned the story before I started I’d have realised then there was no convincing way out for Jodie, and abandoned it. But I had a commission …

I was thrashing around, rejecting one idea after another, when into my mind floated the wisdom of Willy Wonker:

‘If you don’t know where you’re going,

you’d better keep on going.’

So I kept on writing. In a million years I couldn’t have pre-planned what happens.

In author talks, when I ask children who’ve not read the book, ‘What should Jodie do? their concern is for Jodie, sometimes for the Dream Snatcher too (‘He’s not bad all the time’) and the town is left to its fate. But when I read what happens, the nods and smiles are wonderfully rewarding.

In fact, a story that began as writer’s revenge has had a fortuitous journey. First Barn Owl Books publish it - so refreshing to work with a publisher who makes it a priority to consult with its authors and, what’s more, prints their books on quality paper.

Then a musical adaptation is commissioned by Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College– music by the composer Peter Readman, book and lyrics by myself,. (Music clips and info about the show etc. on

And then a stage adaptation (with Sian Williams) is commissioned by Once Seen, a company of professional adult actors with disabilities at the Theatre Royal, York.

And now a much appreciated bonus - The Dream Snatcher is selected by that imaginative, much needed venture - Exclusively Independent. Linking up independent publishers, their authors and independent bookshops - brilliant! I’m delighted to be a part of it.


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