Ask The Author

Sophie Anderson

The House with Chicken Legs

Did Marinka’s character come from someone in your life? – Amelia, Lola, Francessca, Naomi, 12

Yes! Marinka was inspired by my eldest daughter, who is about the same age as Marinka, and also dreams of climbing over fences and exploring the world!

What made you want to explore the kinder side of the Baba Yaga folk story? – Alfie, Sam & Gary 14,11,14

As a child, I was fascinated (and slightly confused!) that Baba Yaga could be depicted as both a villain and a helper in the old folk tales. As I got older and learned how witches have been misunderstood and misrepresented throughout history, I wanted to discover the ‘true’ Baba Yaga. I learned her roots lie in ancient Pagan Goddesses of Life and Death, and this made me want to write a story where her character reflected this aspect of her origins.

What gave you the idea for Marinka to be dead but come to life? – Ruby, 11

Well, this wasn’t planned at all! I didn’t realise Marinka was dead until I wrote the scene where she fades. Often when I’m writing, I don’t feel in control of what happens – the story and the characters seem to take on a life of their own. I nearly dropped my laptop in shock when I found out Marinka was dead, but it also made perfect sense to me too!

Why did you use Russian words? – Angelina, 12

Because Baba Yaga is such an important character in Russian folklore and Russian culture, I wanted to keep a Russian ‘flavour’ to the book. The simplest way of doing this seemed to be to include Russian foods, Russian musical instruments and traditional Russian clothing. The Russian words are a kind of ‘nod’ to Baba Yaga’s origins!

Is there going to be another book with the darker side of Baba Yaga? - May, 11

Possibly! I do have an idea in this area I’d like to explore, but another story is calling me louder at the moment, so dark Baba Yaga may have to wait a little while!