Siobhan Curham’s latest book is all about friendship, girl power and achieving your dreams. It’s a gorgeous novel and brought up a few questions. Luckily, we had the chance to ask Siobhan to answer them!
Tell us the plot of ‘Moonlight Dreamers’ in the length of a tweet. Four girls come together to celebrate being different and help each other dare to dream
Where did the idea for this book first come to you? It first came to me in a pub in East London called The Water Poet. I was having lunch with my friend and French translator, Marie Hermet and we started talking about what I should write next. The conversation was a series of ‘what ifs’: What if it was about four main characters instead of one? What if it was a celebration of female friendship? What if London featured so prominently it was like a character in its own right? What if the girls helped each other dare to dream? Then I went home and started brainstorming and very quickly, Amber, Maali, Sky and Rose were born, with their very different personalities and very different dreams.
Do you have a group of friends who help you reach your goals, just like the ‘Moonlight Dreamers’ girls? Yes, I do and I’m so grateful for them. That’s why I wanted to write a novel that celebrated female friendship – because I’ve seen at first hand how powerful it can be. I also hate the way women and girls can be encouraged to bitch about each other and constantly compare. It’s so much better when we support each other … we get so much more done and life is so much sweeter.
What’s your advice to those who don’t have a group of supportive friends to help them? I’ve been in that situation and I know how lonely it can be. In the three years prior to sixth form, I’d started hanging round with an older group of friends outside of school but then things went wrong with this group and I had no real friends left in school. Those two years of sixth form felt like the longest and loneliest ever. But I used this to fire me up and get focused on my studies so that I could make a fresh start at uni. I passed my A levels and went off to uni and within weeks I’d made a fantastic new group of friends from all over the country. So, if you currently don’t have a supportive group of friends, make your focus finding them. Work hard so you can get to uni – or get an interesting new job. Or join an organisation or go to Meet-ups where you might find other, like-minded people. As Amber thinks to herself at the start of The Moonlight Dreamers – there are millions of people out there – there have to be some who would make great friends for you. It’s just a case of finding them.
What was your biggest dream when you were a teenager? To be a writer. Sadly, I lost confidence in myself and my dream two years into my English degree. I grew up on a council estate and the other students on my course all came from much wealthier, more well-connected backgrounds. Publishing seemed like such a middle class world and I didn’t think I belonged there. So I went to work for the complaints department of a food store, where all I got to write were grovelling apology letters about the horrible things people had found in their food! Thankfully, this job was so depressing it gave me the incentive to revive my dream and I became a published author. Now I feel really proud of my background and I love encouraging others to overcome similar doubts and fears when it comes to their dreams. If I can do it then so can you!
Has that dream changed any as you’ve got older? No, not really, only that I originally dreamed of writing for adults but now I love writing for young adults and being part of such a passionate reading and writing community.
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