Listen: Author Belinda Murrell chats with Hope Breakfast's Sam Robinson about her new book 'The Golden Tower'
Sydney-based author Belinda Murrell’s new book about a girl stuck in a tower, is inspired by Narnia, strong women, and even COVID-19 lockdown.
The Golden Tower is an exciting novel for kids – where a sarcastic cat takes young Sophie hostage, in a fantasy world where horses fly. Belinda told Hope Breakfast that creating such a world took inspiration from one of her favourite childhood book series.
“One of my inspirations was [The Chronicles of] Narnia,” Belinda said. “It was that idea of a world that was filled with magic, mystery and wonder. Talking animals and magical creatures, and that a normal every day kid like Sophie could step through this doorway or portal and go into this magical world and have all these adventures that are really dangerous, that you couldn’t actually have in the real world.”
Written through 2020, Belinda credits the feelings of oppression and claustrophobia that we all experienced through COVID lockdown to how Sophie feels as she sits locked in her tower.
The fantasy world of the book, Tuscia, is also inspired by Renaissance Italy. And Belinda says that there’s a number of Italian women whose stories helped her flip the ‘damsel in distress’ trope that has permeated literature for centuries.
“I love Italian women. They are so feisty and they’re so strong, and stand up for themselves no matter what… Sometimes when you study history, you can get the feeling that women never existed… but these Italian women did amazing things. Some were engaged when they were really young – six or eight – and married at about fifteen. And they were a real part of their dynasties: political analysts, they led armies, their husbands were kidnapped and they rescued them.”
“If you think about Rapunzel… she’s stuck in a tower when she’s a baby. She hangs around until Prince Charming comes and rescues her, and then she gets out of the tower. But in the Italian version… she uses her own courage and own wits to get herself out of trouble. She doesn’t wait for a male to rescue her. I drew on these elements to create my own world to create The Golden Tower.”
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You can hear more of Sam’s chat with Belinda Murrell in the player above. The Golden Tower is out now.