This is a stunning book, perfect for cosy winter evenings. I am so pleased to be part of this blog tour and to share a guest post from author, Alexandra Page! Read on for her special words!
I began writing what became The Fire Fox ten years ago. I knew I wanted to create a cosy, bedtime story about love and acceptance. It started with a girl being told an invented fireside story about a magical tiger with a tail made of fire, who was forced to abandon the jungle where other creatures feared him. He journeyed northwards with a hunter and found acceptance in the snow-swept far North, where fire means warmth, protection and home, before transforming into a white tiger. Geography and facts were against me however, as Siberian tigers have orange fur, whereas white tigers roam the South. A writing friend then suggested ‘how about an artic fox instead’?
During research about these gorgeous creatures, who belong to the Arctic circle, I stumbled upon the beautiful Finnish Saami myth of Tulikettu, a magical artic fox. As the fox runs across the icy tundra it whips snow crystals into the sky with its fur, which scatter to create the Northern Lights. In Finland the Lights are still called revontulet, which means ‘fox fires’. The legend continues that any hunter who can capture the elusive fire fox will be rich for the rest of his days.
Tulikettu’s myth, the magnificence of the Northern Lights and my initial themes wove together into a new story where love and acceptance became even more important. Freya’s father has passed away and her sense of loss is overwhelming when she and her mother visit the old cabin where they used to stay as a family. Now with ‘just the two of them’, Freya feels everything is cold and empty. Freya’s emotion draws much from my own early childhood, when my mother and sister moved thousands of miles away to live in Africa, leaving big gaps behind them.
Once a year or so I flew as an unaccompanied child to Africa for visits. There was a special moment on the plane journey, when dawn lit up the sky and clouds in a spectacle of colour and light, bringing me an overwhelming sense of wonder and joy. For those moments I didn’t feel alone or afraid and knew that before long I would be in the arms of the people who loved me. I wanted to try and capture that same feeling for Freya and any child who reads this story. Through her adventure with the fox, Freya rediscovers joy and feels the glow of love that surrounds her, both outside and within. By the end, the cabin no longer feels cold or empty, ‘because inside, the light still shone.’
I could not have wished for a more perfect story partner than Stef Murphy, who captures the elusive fox, Northern Lights and Freya’s emotional journey so magnificently in her illustrations. My favourite image is the last of all, where Freya and her mum are snuggled in the cabin beside the fire, looking at their own family story together. It takes me back to the very first spark of why I wanted to write this story, to help children feel warm, cosy and loved.
I hope you enjoy The Fire Fox. If you would like to discover more about the Saami people and their folklore, I recommend exploring http://www.Lapland.fi.
The Fire Fox by Alexandra Page and illustrated by Stef Murphy, published by Two Hoots, is out from 28th October 2021.