Finding new uses for old rubbish
3rd Nov 20

Finding new uses for old rubbish

Imagine living on a floating island in the sea, and recycling rubbish to make the everyday things you need. This is the life of the Tindims. But what happens when there's just too much rubbish at sea?

THE TINDIMS OF RUBBISH ISLAND by SALLY GARDNER and LYDIA CORRY is the first book in a new series that introduces us to the Tindims who, a little like The Borrowers, find new ways to use old rubbish.

The problem is, the amount of rubbish they now find at sea and especially the number of old plastic bottles. SALLY GARDNER and LYDIA CORRY tell us more about THE TINDIMS OF RUBBISH ISLAND:

Q: What inspired the idea for The Tindims of Rubbish Island?

A: We had both been thinking about the rubbish that is washed up on Hastings beach - there is far too much of it . It was Lydia's idea to tackle this in a story. We both wanted to do something for younger children with a gentle conservation message.

Q: As you are mother and daughter, had you always planned to work on a book together?

A: We never set out to work together, but secretly we both hoped it would happen one day. And this project is ideal, as we both feel passionate about conservation. I knew that Lydia would bring this to life in a unique and original way.

Q: Can you tell us a little about the first book?

A: The first book is an introduction to the Tindims and to Rubbish island. The Tindims have a problem; Bottle Mountain is so tall that they can't see where they are going. And because of that, they have steered the island into a snowstorm, which is not a good idea when they need to be somewhere sunny for the Brightsea Festival.

Q: How did you come about their name, the Tindims?

A: Shortly after deciding on this project, I woke up one Saturday morning and, before I had made the coffee, the name 'Tindim' came to me. Lydia and I both thought it perfect.

Q: How did you decide on who would be your main characters?

A: That has been such fun. I do believe good character names find you when you start looking for them. We spent a lot of time throwing names back at one another and deciding that most should be non-binary.

Once we had the names, Lydia began to draw, and her drawings were inspirational for the first story. We are fortunate that as an author / illustrator team we are able to share ideas and sketchbooks between us.

Q: What did you enjoy most about illustrating the project, as you are both illustrators?

A: Finding the style that would make the characters stand out. Once I had that, the island came easily. I liked doing the map so that I knew where everyone was, as well as the houses they live in.

It is an interesting challenge to make black-and-white drawings on a small format exciting. I enjoyed very much working with Jessie, the designer, on this.

Q: Do you have a favourite section in the story?

A: My favourite part is the Brightsea Festival and the last picture in the book I find very moving. Lydia's favourite part is Spokes' engine room. And we both enjoyed working out the map of the island. Once it was there, we felt the story was grounded then in a sense of place.

Q: The Tindims have an amazing island, and homes - whose would you like to visit?

A: I love Granny Gull's house on top of Bottle Mountain. Also, being rather lazy, I like the idea of the cable car taking me down and bringing me back up the mountain again.

Lydia's favourite house is the Fish Hospital. Which makes a lot of sense as she used to have an aquarium with pufferfish which need a lot of looking after.

Q: The Tindims love to roam around the seas. Where are you planning to take them next?

A: At the moment there are four books and the next adventure is set in the Caribbean. It is called The Tindims and the Turtle Tangle.

Q: What has been your favourite escape from writing / illustrating during lockdown?

A: We are beyond lucky that we both live by the sea and have been able to go out walking on the shore with our dogs. I have enjoyed spending time on Rubbish Island too, a destination reached by a flight of stairs to my office.

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