Author Amy Beashel finishes off the blog tour for her new book The Sky is Mine with which book and luxury she'd choose for her Desert Island, plus why she was inspired to write her book. 

 

Book & Luxury

Castaways have been allowed to take “the collected works of” various writers over the years. So in the same vein, I’d like to take The Collected Works of the People Who Make A-Zs of the World’s Capital Cities. What I mean is, I want maps. Intricate, urban maps with indexes and grid lines and every single street name and every single park. This is not a cheat, I can’t possibly use them to navigate my way off the island, not literally anyway. But the A-Z’s could transport me, in my mind at least, to the more intimate avenues of our planet’s great towns where I imagine the most intriguing characters might linger. 

As for my luxury, I’d like my MacBook Air, please. I know, I know, no internet. Just the ability to write stories and letters I might never be able to send to people I might never see again. But if, one day, they discover my dead body still clutching my laptop, they’ll open it and know that I never gave up on rescue. Or love. 

Love and rescue are inextricably linked to stories for me. Not in the traditional sense of a heroine being rescued by her true love (usually a man). Rather, in the discovery of her own self-worth, a protagonist might instead find a way to rescue herself from a tough situation.

Having previously volunteered for a domestic violence charity, I heard many real-life stories from women looking for means of escape. Making the decision to leave is an act of bravery and something I wanted to write about in The Sky Is Mine, always with a view to looking at it from a cross-generational perspective. Often, the women I spoke with weren’t merely concerned for their own safety but that of their children too. They worried the effects of the abuse might ripple, that their kids could end up in situations not too dissimilar from their own. The problems Izzy has with Jacob don’t exactly mirror those her mother faces with Daniel but they are connected, not only by the possibility of Izzy being more vulnerable because of her precarious home life, but because the many forms of abuse women and girls encounter at the hands of men are interwoven, as Izzy points out in the book –

So maybe Grace was on to something when she bothered to go march against Trump. Maybe she was right to tell me I needed to speak up. Cos maybe it’s all the same thing. Whatever it is that gave Jacob the right to do what he did. Whatever it is that gave Daniel the strength to do with his words and his power that he wraps around Mum and me like a net in his water. Whatever it is, this greater thing they’re a part of, it’s like the river cutting up and connecting things, working its way through our cities and countyside until it reaches the Celtic Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, all the way to America, where a man who became president has made pussy-grabbing fair game.

 

Reading the brilliant Everyday Sexism and Girl Up by Laura Bates fuelled my desire to write something that reflects the ways in which the micro-aggressions women experience on a day-to-day basis can sometimes be building blocks for the more “serious” forms of abuse. And writing for a young adult audience was important for me because, in my experience at least, those years when you’re not quite considered a grown woman but definitely don’t feel like a girl can leave you wondering where you fit within a power structure already massively complicated by the patriarchy. Books are a safe space for young adults to explore these kinds of issues, and I hope in reading the novel, people might feel more able to talk about the subjects it raises.

Izzy’s change in the book in The Sky Is Mine is internal. We watch her forced into silence and later discover an inner strength and a belief in her right to use her voice. I would love it if readers felt inspired to do the same.

 

By Amy Beashel

 


  

The Sky is Mine is out now in paperback. 

 

Amy Beashel celebrating with The Sky is Mine in a bookshop