Why I Wrote It
Long years ago, when I was a wee lass, I developed a bizarre passion for Norway. My family is actually of Danish descent, but for me it was Norway or nothing. The breathtaking landscape, the thought of Viking ships cresting icy waves, polar bears and reindeer, it all seemed so romantic and fascinating to me. I devoured anything about Norway I could find: I wore itchy wool sweaters if they had a Norwegian pattern on them. I ate cold salmon (which I do like). I read any book that even mentioned Norway, or was written by someone Norwegian, no matter what the topic. So I was naturally drawn to the fairy tale East o’ the Sun, West o’ the Moon, which is still my favorite all-time story. The young girl, taken from her poverty-stricken family by an enchanted polar bear . . . it thrills me! For my sixteenth birthday I got a copy of P.J. Lynch’s wonderfully illustrated version of the story, and pored over every line of the pictures, imagining what it would be like to live in that palace, to feel the bear’s thick fur. I knew that one day I would write my own version of the story, I just didn’t know when. Finally, several years after graduating with a minor in Scandinavian Studies, after reading other picture books and reinterpreted novels based on the story, I sat down at the computer one day to work on something completely different (as usual), and the story of the nameless woodcutter’s daughter poured forth.
I hope that I always pour a lot of passion and a lot of love into all my books. But this one is closer to my heart than the others, I think. I paced the floor in between scenes, urgently thinking of how to make it just right.
And in the end, I hope, it is. Just right.