When I first heard the name Jilda, I said ‘One day, I’m going to write a story with Jilda as the main character’.
Jilda’s Ark began with a spark of an idea, with what would happen if a cruise ship took off and left its passengers stranded onshore. We had been on a cruise in the Caribbean ourselves, and the shore excursion we were on was running late getting back to the ship. I remember the relief at seeing the ship was still there at the docks, waiting for us. This stayed with me and I kept asking, ‘What if?’ and ‘What would happen then?’
Some cruise ships are like floating cities, and I thought about the huge number of people they can carry. And then I started to calculate how many more they could carry if more beds were squashed in, and passengers slept in shifts. The numbers just got larger and larger. I also thought about environmental refugees who were losing their island homes due to climate change, and how one solution could be ships taking them to a new life in another land. And then I started to wonder about what would happen to all their beloved animals they had to leave behind. The story wouldn’t let me go, so I had to sit down to write it.
I loved writing Jilda’s Ark. The story poured out, and I wrote what I could see in my head as the action unfolded like a film. I didn’t really know what was going to happen next until I wrote it. My characters sometimes did unexpected things that surprised me, and I just followed them along.
I hope you enjoy reading Jilda’s Ark as much as I enjoyed writing it.
P.S. I get seasick, just like Jilda, so I know exactly how she feels!