THE SPINDLERS is a book that, in some ways, I began writing when I was six years old. That was when I first came across Outside Over There, a book of Maurice Sendak’s in which a girl named Ida must rescue her real brother after he is stolen by terrible goblin creatures and replaced by a changeling, an ice-baby. (We read a lot of Maurice Sendak in my house; in fact, a signed Sendak poster greeted me from the wall opposite my bed every day.) The story always resonated with me.
Fast forward another twenty years, after my sister found two Arthur Rackham prints she thought I would like, knowing that I was a fan of his art. The prints featured fairies but, unlike some of his other work, these creatures were definitely not of the friendly, floral variety. In one picture, they are shown sneaking into a bedroom, long fingers curled around the doorframe, leering at a baby’s crib in the foreground. A small attached note reads: “And what should happen if the bad fairies come out to play?” Creepy!
These influences—a testament to the lasting impact of art, and the way that old themes can recombine and be reinvented—when mixed with a ruptured friendship, which made feel as though a person I loved had been suddenly replaced with an unfeeling creature, prompted the basic idea for THE SPINDLERS. It is a book that blends the personal and the recombinant, and is both a tribute to some of the art I have loved, and a more private exploration of what it takes to tunnel back from darkness into light.
I hope you enjoying reading it.
With best regards,
Have a question for Lauren? Type your question in the box below, then click “submit.” We will post Lauren’s responses to questions below, so be sure to check back!
Do you see any of yourself in Liza?
Yes! I think you have to identify yourself with your main characters. Liza is loyal and imaginative--and also very stubborn. I think I have similar qualities.
How was writing THE SPINDLERS similar/different from writing LIESL & PO?
Liesl & Po has many points of view, so I had to consider a large variety of different storylines. The Spindlers is more of a traditional "journey" book, but I had to really imagine what the world Below was like. So both of them were a challenge in different ways.
Where did you get the inspiration for the creatures that live in the world Below?
From all over! I've always imagined there are small creatures who steal socks from the dryer and keys from the floor--that's how I came up with the troglods. And some of the other creatures just appeared to me as I was writing.
What do you want readers to take away from this story?
There is always light at the end of darkness; there is beauty even where there is fear; and of course, love conquers all!