April 04

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Sisters by Ruth Lauren

At the beginning of my book, PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW, the main character, Valor, has been separated from her twin sister, Sasha. Over the course of the story Valor shows the depths of a sister’s love and the lengths she would go to in order to defend and protect her sibling.

I’ve always been interested in sibling relationships, and more specifically in sisters, and I think there’s a reason so many middle grade stories (and young adult books) revolve around that relationship. Valor was originally older than Sasha, but my very smart agent suggested that their relationship might be more interesting if they were closer in age, or even twins. She was right—the fact that they’re twins (like so many other siblings in stories) gives them many shared experiences and memories and leaves neither of them with eldest or youngest privileges or drawbacks.  I once read that a sibling relationship can be stronger—and harder to lose—than any other relationship, given that it’s often one that has been with you your whole life (literally so in the case of twins). Most people will never know anyone else for the same amount of time as they know their sibling, and that bond, whether it’s an incredibly close one or whether it’s much more complex (or both) will always be unique as perhaps the most enduring relationship in a lot of people’s lives.

Thinking back, it’s no surprise that I wrote a book with a sister relationship at its heart. One of my favourite books, one that I owned and read multiple times as a child, was Little Women. The dynamic between sisters is fascinating to read about or see on a screen and I’ve been influenced and inspired by many other sister relationships.

Here are a few of my other favourites:

Katniss and Primrose Everdeen from THE HUNGER GAMES. Of course Katniss takes her sister Prim’s place in the dangerous and deadly Hunger Games. And no one questions why she would do that. We all understand. That’s her sister. Of course she would.

Cath and Wren from Rainbow Rowell’s FANGIRL. Rivalry, love, guilt, growing apart, growing up. This book is just wonderful in the depths of its insight into a twin sister relationship.

Anna and Elsa from FROZEN! PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW has been pitched as FROZEN meets PRISON BREAK (more siblings rescuing each other) and the success of the film is arguably down to its focus on not romantic love, but sisterly love.

I loved writing about Valor’s single minded struggle to rescue her sister and about the memories they share and the way they work together to orchestrate a prison break. There’s much more in the sequel, SEEKER OF THE CROWN, about how the sister’s relationship has been changed by the events of Book  1 and how it continues to change as the girls grow up and go through further experiences together. PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW is, of course, dedicated to my own sister.

Ruth Lauren lives in the West Midlands in England with her family and a lot of cats. She likes chocolate, walking in the woods, cheese, orchids, going to the movies, and reading as many books as she can. She’s been a teacher and worked in lots of different offices, but she likes writing best. Prisoner of Ice and Snow is her debut novel.