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In the second of a series by writers shortlisted for the 2016 Guardian children’s fiction award, Tanya Landman explains how Hell and High Water came about

“Where did you get the idea?”There’s rarely a straightforward answer to that question. An idea often begins in childhood and then snowballs very gradually until it finally hits the page.

That’s certainly true of the setting for Hell and High Water. I grew up in Gravesend, Kent beside the Thames – a moving highway carrying people and goods from all over the world – so I’ve always been fascinated by tidal rivers. For a time I lived in Liverpool and then Bristol – both port cities built on profits from the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In 2001 I moved to Bideford, Devon. It’s now a small market town, but in its heyday the port rivalled London. It was from Bideford that some of the first settlers sailed to colonise America.

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In the second of a series by writers shortlisted for the 2016 Guardian children’s fiction award, Tanya Landman explains how Hell and High Water came about

“Where did you get the idea?”There’s rarely a straightforward answer to that question. An idea often begins in childhood and then snowballs very gradually until it finally hits the page.

That’s certainly true of the setting for Hell and High Water. I grew up in Gravesend, Kent beside the Thames – a moving highway carrying people and goods from all over the world – so I’ve always been fascinated by tidal rivers. For a time I lived in Liverpool and then Bristol – both port cities built on profits from the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In 2001 I moved to Bideford, Devon. It’s now a small market town, but in its heyday the port rivalled London. It was from Bideford that some of the first settlers sailed to colonise America.

Continue reading…
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